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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine signs AllTrials

UK News | March 15, 2013


Ben Adams

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine signs AllTrials

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine has today signed up to the AllTrials campaign, joining NICE and GlaxoSmithKline as the most recent signatories.

The Faculty said it was moved to sign this campaign, which wants to open up clinical trial data for greater public scrutiny, as it believes that the “increased scrutiny of clinical trial results and data will lead to enhanced and more rigorous science, and ultimately better health outcomes for patients”.

The Faculty said it has shown a “longstanding commitment” to the publication and dissemination of trial results and data through its ‘Guiding Principles for Pharmaceutical Physicians’, and sees the aims of the AllTrials campaign as being closely aligned to this commitment.

The Faculty’s Guiding Principles state: “All studies should be performed to increase knowledge in some useful way, and there should be openness and honesty in the sharing of this knowledge with the wider world. Study findings need to be communicated, whatever the outcome, for the benefit of the community at large”.

Additionally, the Faculty said it is engaged in a number of work-streams aimed at progressing this debate and examining how robust structures can be designed and implemented to enable the dissemination of clinical trial results and data.

This includes giving evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry into Clinical Trials, as well as providing representation on three of the European Medicines Agency advisory groups on publication of clinical trial data.

A spokesman for the Faculty told PharmaTimes UK News that its president Keith Bragman had been the one to table the notion of signing the register, which was unanimously accepted by the board.

This will please the founders of the campaign, who include Bad Pharma author Dr Ben Goldacre, the British Medical Journal and Sense about Science. Goldacre told PharmaTimes UK news: "It's great that the Faculty have signed up to AllTrials. There are many ethical professionals working in the pharmaceutical industry, and their representative bodies need to show leadership in addressing this issue. Future generations will look back at us tolerating withheld trial results with amazement, the way we look back at mediaeval bloodletting."

ABPI to sign?

The UK pharma lobby group the ABPI is now one of the last remaining UK organisations not to sign the register, whose signatories include 80 patient groups, NICE, the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the Wellcome Trust and most significantly for pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, the UK’s biggest pharma firm.

Speaking at the recent PharmaTimes head-to-head debate between Dr Goldacre and Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the ABPI, Whitehead said he would not “respond to a PR initiatives like AllTrials”. But both GSK’s signing – and today’s action from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine - may make this position untenable in the long-term.

Dr Goldacre added: "This broad coalition committed to change is now working together on the nuts and bolts of how we achieve greater transparency. It is a disappointing reminder of worst practice in the pharmaceutical industry that the ABPI have been left behind, and are still refusing to sign up to this transparency initiative, which has such widespread and ever-growing support."

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