Transparency amongst industry-sponsored clinical trials is continuing to improve in Europe, a study for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, has found.

The findings show that 90% of trials on all new medicines approved by the European Medicines Authority in 2012 were disclosed within a 12-month timeframe, up from 86% in 2011, 81% in 2010, and 71% in 2009.

“Whilst we are not seeing disclosure rates at 100% yet we are seeing a sustained trend towards improved disclosure of industry-sponsored trials associated with new medicines,” said study co-author Bryan Dean.

Generally it is the older, smaller, earlier phase trials for which results remain undisclosed. Dean says this isn’t surprising as many of these were conducted around ten years ago, “before results could be posted on registries and at a time when few small phase I and II trials would have been published alone”. 

“Now that the registration and reporting of clinical trials has become routine it is fair to expect that transparency associated with industry-sponsored trials will continue to improve,” he added.

Virginia Acha, the ABPI’s Executive Director Research, Medical and Innovation, said the study “highlights an encouraging trend towards greater clinical trial transparency”, but also acknowledged that “there is more work to do”.