How Digital Technology Can Help Clinical Trial Management

Digital technology is playing a huge part in providing a greater transparency when it comes to the running of clinical trials across the country, as it is used to monitor all clinical trials taking place in the UK to identify whether or not results have been published two years after the stated end date. The aim of this technology is to encourage more results to be published by those carrying out the trials, such as pharmaceutical companies, universities and other major research sponsors, to provide critically valuable information on clinical trials.

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TrialsTracker

TrialsTracker monitors ClinicalTrails.gov is the world’s biggest clinical trial register. Developed by a team of Oxford University academics including Dr Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Pharma and a founding member of the ALLTrials campaign to encourage clinical trial transparency, it aims to identify published and unpublished results. Collecting and analysing data between January 2006 and November 2014 highlighted that 45% of 25,927 eligible trials hadn’t published results, a problem Dr Goldacre is hoping to eradicate by using TrialsTracker to identify those responsible for the overdue trials results.

Believing that increasing accountability will implement and drive change, Dr Goldacre wants to target those doing poorly in the league tables by encouraging them to publish trial results through the use of their trial registry number, enabling doctors, researchers and patients to access and read the results of all clinical trial services.

Mixed Representation of the Pharmaceutical Industry

The analysis of this data has shown some severe failings by particular companies when publishing clinical trial results, including one which has so far run 35 trials but hasn’t published data for any of them so far. On the other hand, there are companies out there which consistently publish results, including one company which has run and published 96 trials to date. Unfortunately, though, three of the major pharmaceutical industry frontrunners currently hold three of the bottom five positions for the lowest number of unpublished trials, having failed to take advantage of clinical trial services.

Also in agreement and welcoming a more transparent publishing process is the Director General of the European Pharma Body, EFPIA, Richard Bergström, who has said that the members of the EFPIA will be held accountable and are committed to ensuring patients, clinicians and medical researchers have access to the valuable results.