Royal College of Physicians statement

The Council of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has agreed to support the principles of the ‘All trials registered, all trials reported’ campaign.

This reflects the RCP’s commitment towards delivering greater transparency for the benefit of patient care. Greater clinical trials transparency will aid scientific progress and in turn benefit patient care.

In signing up to the campaign, the RCP is keen to stress the urgency with which the community must determine how clinical trial transparency should be delivered. There are important questions around the appropriate scope, range, regulation and enforcement of disclosure.* As a profession, physicians must get these answers right to maximise the benefits of greater transparency around clinical trials.

The RCP believes that the best way to address such issues is to work together. The organisation is committed to the work of the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG), which takes a collaborative approach to developing the relationship between health professionals and industry.

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the RCP said:

The RCP’s mission is to raise standards and we are pleased to support the principles of the ‘All trials registered, all trials reported’ campaign. Physicians and other health professionals can play an important and influential role in delivering greater transparency. Those who take part in trials can hold companies to account to ensure that they deliver on the issue. We see such principles as key to the collaborative approach of the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group.

* To fully realise the goal of all trials registered and reported, we would ideally see consensus on exactly what we are referring to and how it should be delivered. For example, in terms of scope and range, we’d ideally see agreement on which trials should be included (e.g. academic/industry), how far back retrospective publication of data should go and how data should be reported (e.g. journal publications/clinical study reports/anonymised patient data). In terms of regulation and enforcement, an important issue to resolve is how to fully achieve this. As the all trials campaign has highlighted, there are a number of mechanisms in place, but to date, no study has shown that 100% of trials are fully registered and reported. Many of these questions are currently being discussed by individuals and organisation within the research community, healthcare professions and industry, and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is considering the topic as part of an ongoing inquiry.