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Clinical Trials

Volume 551: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2012

4. What his policy is on making available all information about the results of clinical trials to patients, doctors and medicine approval bodies. (124137)

The Government support transparency in publishing results of clinical trials, and they recognise that more can, and should, be done. In future, greater transparency and the disclosure of trial results will be achieved via the development of the European Union clinical trials register, which will make the summary results of trials conducted in the EU publicly available. Greater transparency can only serve to further public confidence in the safety of medicines, which is already robustly assured in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. By law, the outcomes of clinical trials undertaken by companies must be reported to that regulator, including negative results.

Order. We are grateful to the Minister but some of these answers are simply too long. If they are drafted by officials, Ministers are responsible—[Interruption.] Order. I require no assistance at all from the Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry). She should stick to her own duties, which I am sure she will discharge with great effect.

I thank the Minister for his answer and for recognising that missing data from clinical trials distorts the evidence and prevents patients and their doctors from making informed decisions about treatment. Will the Minister meet a delegation of leading academics and doctors who remain concerned that not enough is being done to see how we can ensure that all historic and future data are released into the public domain?

My hon. Friend raises absolutely legitimate concerns, which have been raised by others, including Ben Goldacre. I am happy for my noble Friend Lord Howe or me to meet her and experts to discuss this important issue further.