MPs call for evidence on clinical trials and data disclosure

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 17 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8537
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

MPs have released details of the inquiry they are to hold early next year into clinical trials and the disclosure of data.

The Science and Technology Committee said that several events have sparked the need for the inquiry, including the publication of the book Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre, which highlighted the fact that drug companies can choose which clinical trials of new drugs they publish, skewing the evidence base for the effectiveness and effects of their products.

Other events that prompted the inquiry were the establishment in December 2011 of the Health Research Authority to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health research and proposals earlier this year by the European Commission to revise its clinical trials directive.1 2

Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the House of Commons Health Committee, announced last month at the NHS Alliance’s conference in Bournemouth that MPs would examine the issue of sharing of clinical trial data.3

The committee is seeking written submission of up to 3000 words on several questions:

  • Do the European Commission’s proposed revisions to the clinical trials directive tackle the main barriers to conducting clinical trials in the United Kingdom and European Union?

  • What is the role of the Health Research Authority in relation to clinical trials, and how effective has it been to date?

  • What evidence is there that drug companies withhold data from clinical trials and what impact does this have on public health?

  • How could the occurrence and results of clinical trials be made more open to scrutiny? Who should be responsible?

  • Can lessons about transparency and disclosure of clinical data be learnt from other countries?


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8537


  • Submissions should be emailed to scitechcom{at} by noon on Friday 22 February 2013 and marked “Clinical Trials.”

  • The BMJ is conducting a campaign on open access to research data. See


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