The new head of Lilly UK believes that the clinical trial transparency agenda in the UK is a “very strange debate”.

Speaking to PharmaTimes in an exclusive interview Dr Jean-Michel Cosséry, the new UK managing director and vice president for its Northern Europe hub of Lilly, said that the AllTrials campaign to increase clinical trial data transparency was for him “a strange debate”.

He explains: “I never met anybody in pharma who doesn’t agree that having the opportunity to share data is a good thing, so of course I believe that openness with data is important. But when it comes to this being published, I would like experts to define which kind of website and spread-sheet and database is chosen to show these data.

“So for me, the debate is all about how the data will be available: in what format; what website and so on, rather than a debate about transparency, because that is happening now.”

This viewpoint has been echoed by Roch Doliveux, the chief executive of UCB, who recently told reporters at his firm’s quarterly financial results that the need for pharma to release more of its clinical trial data for greater public scrutiny was a “very UK topic”, adding that he has “difficulty understanding the passion of the debate”.

But Jean-Michel says he thinks this debate will be sorted in the next few months as the European Medicines Agency already has plans to promulgate more clinical trial data over the next year.

He also argues that the debate should be about transparency for drugs that are in development now. “Many people want to go back over data for drugs that have been on the market for ten or even 20 years,” he says.

“So the question must be: where do patients want pharma to spend its money: do they want it spent on drugs now, or do they want it spent on going over data from ten years ago? Of course, the answer is patients want our highly skilled scientists working on the drugs of tomorrow, and not going over the old data of the past.”

See more from the PharmaTimes interview with Jean-Michel in June’s PharmaTimes Magazine, out next month. Not a subscriber – then go here: