Researchers in Switzerland are adamant that a clinical trial registry envisaged by the federal government must be completely compatible with other international registries and not a “specifically Swiss solution”, says Interpharma, the national association for research-based pharmaceutical companies.

The idea was put out for consultation by the Swiss government, which wants to improve the transparency of research by setting up a public registry of clinical trials. In common with their multinational counterparts, the leading Swiss research-based companies, Roche and Novartis, have already made information on their trials publicly available, whether through their own site (www.roche-trials.com) or the US-based www.clinicaltrials.gov.

In fact, the federal government, which has not yet decided whether the registry should be hosted by the Federal Office of Public Health or farmed out to another institution, already recognises the importance of ensuring that a Swiss registry can be consolidated with others already in existence, given “the international character of research and the supranational co-operation in this field”.

For Interpharma, though, this point cannot be stressed enough. It quotes Beat Wilder, head of the clinical quality department at Roche, as saying that a discrete Swiss registry “makes no sense, the same studies will just keep cropping up”. It would be better, Wilder suggested, to integrate the Swiss initiative with an existing registry such as clinicaltrials.gov or with the planned EU trial registry, when that is up and running.