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Published on 12 June 2014

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Hospital pharmacists’ concern about clinical trial information

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has written to the Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) expressing concern about proposals to restrict the viewing of clinical trial results to an ‘on-screen only’ version.

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has written to the Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) expressing concern about proposals to restrict the viewing of clinical trial results to an ‘on-screen only’ version.

Such access would exclude the possibility of individuals being able to print, distribute or transfer the information, making scientific analysis of clinical study data highly problematic.

The EAHP has joined the voices of other organisations such as the European Ombudsman, the British Medical Journal, the AllTrials campaign, the European Consumer Organisation and Health Action International in urging a rethink by the EMA. The EAHP’s intervention comes ahead of an EMA Board Meeting on Thursday 12th June, at which the proposed draft policy on “proactive publication of and access to clinical trial data” could be finalised.

The development of new policy by the Agency on clinical trial transparency comes as the result of intensive advocacy efforts by transparency campaigners, and after over a year of consultation by the EMA with patient groups, healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the EAHP, said: “Transparency in the reporting of clinical trial results matters. It matters because it is important in avoiding duplicated effort. It matters because patients participating do so on the basis that they are assisting wider scientific understanding of medical issues. It matters because independent secondary scrutiny of clinical trial results frequently yields new insights.

Therefore, whilst we congratulate the European Medicines Agency on its efforts so far on trial result transparency, the news that access could be restricted to “on screen only” comes as a disappointment. Transparency is needed for the purposes of scrutiny. Yet if individuals may not print, distribute or transfer the information, it is hard to see how the purpose is served. It’s an important moment for the Agency and its Board and we hope it will listen to what the European Ombudsman and stakeholders are saying: the transparency policy should go further.”



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