Extract from the MRC Policy Watch 29th July 2013
A memo has been leaked to The Guardian newspaper which reveals that two pharmaceutical trade bodies planned to secure the support of patient groups in an attempt to resist calls for greater transparency of clinical trial data (BMJ, 27 July). The memo came from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
An open letter to The Guardian, supported by more than 80 signatories, claims that large numbers of life scientists cherry-pick data, hide null results, fail to employ adequate statistical power and reinvent the aims of studies after they have been completed to make it look as though unexpected findings were predicted (THE, 25 July). The letter claims that pre-registration — journals accepting future papers based on the design of experiments rather than results — would reduce these malpractices because incentives to make papers more publishable would be substantially reduced.