Clinical trial registers from China and India have now joined the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform set up last year by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Both the Chinese Clinical Trial Register (ChiCTR) and the Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI) have met the WHO’s requirements for Primary Register status, allowing them to submit data directly to the organisation’s new Clinical Trial Search Portal.

The WHO said the addition of two new primary registers was “a major step for policymakers and scientists, who can now track local research activities, improve the quality of that research, and meet global standards for transparency”. The general public would also benefit by gaining free access to “a more complete picture of clinical research on diseases of interest in their own countries”, the organisation added.

The WHO launched the International Clinical trials Registry Platform to establish norms and standards for the global registration of clinical trials. Working on the premise that registering all interventional trials on humans is a scientific, ethical and moral responsibility, the Platform includes: a WHO Network of Collaborating Clinical Trial Registers, which serves as a forum for registers to exchange information and work together on establishing best practice for clinical trial registration; and the ‘one-stop’ search portal announced in May.

Previously, only three registers met the WHO’s criteria for Primary Register status and direct input into the Clinical Trial Search Portal. These were the Australian Clinical Trial Registry, and the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register. Other registers, whether private or public, can contribute data to the portal, but only via one of the Primary Registers.

More accountable

By participating as Primary Registers in the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, ChiCTR and CTRI will “ensure that researchers, whether in the public or private sector in their respective countries, will be more accountable to the people who consent to participate in trials and to those who may benefit from research results”, the WHO commented.

Both registers would work closely with the medical journals in their region, building on the requirement of the International Committee of Medical Journals that clinical trials be publicly registered before the first participants are enrolled, the organisation added.

The Chinese Clinical Trial Register was originally established in 2005 with support from the Chinese Evidence-Based Medicine Centre, the Ministry of Health and the West China Hospital at Sichuan University. Technical support also comes from the Chinese Cochrane Centre, the Ministry of Education’s Virtual Research Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and the UK’s Cochrane Centre.

Just launched last week, the Clinical Trials Registry – India is the most recent of the five Primary Registers and was built to meet the WHO’s specifications. It was set up by the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Medical Statistics and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology through the ICMR. The registry also receives financial and technical support from the WHO, WHO-SEARO (the Office for the South-East Asia Region) and the WHO India country office.