Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Transparency is Needed in the Future of Clinical Trials

“Telling the truth is a relatively new thing in clinical medicine and well as clinical research.” This quote, which came from Dr Phil Hammond, a GP and Broadcaster, who was chairing a panel at last year’s Partnerships and Clinical Trials Europe event, gives an insight into the changes that are being implemented in the pharmaceutical industry. The discussion chaired by Hammond discussed the topic ‘Clinical Trials in 10 years’ and a key point that stood out was the need for transparency.

As the quote at the beginning states, transparency, i.e. the truth, is relatively new in the field; however the need for it is becoming critical for companies within the industry. It has been rather shunned in the past due to wanting to preserve patient privacy and safeguarding volunteers in trials, as well as not giving anything away to competitors.

However, Anders Persson, Hub Director of Clinical Operations at AstraZeneca highlights there is now a need to share data more widely and make sure it is available for everyone. Jay Kaminski, Corporate Vice President of Global Clinical Research and Developmental Operations at Celgene believes that transparency helps to get the patients more involved with their own data and point of care. Having data in the public domain can help to educate patients but he believes it needs to be done in a consistent manner from company to company.

Brendan Buckley who is the Chief Medical Officer at ICON stressed that patients should be viewed as partners. By interacting on a partner level means more involvement for the patient, who at the end of the day, are the most important part of the trial. Transparency across these partnerships will keep the patient engaged and informed, otherwise they might head elsewhere for knowledge. Patients often now talk to each other and engage with one another on platforms such as social media, forums and chat rooms. So being open and transparent with the patients will let them have the information to interact with one and other, which ultimately keeps them more informed with decisions and help with future trial loyalty.

I think the transparency should go beyond the clinical trials; in a recent post I discussed Collabobeat which is a system designed to share doctor’s notes with patients and create a more open relationship between physician and patient. Transparency at a higher level could help these relationships as well, as doctors can then share data from clinical trials to their patients to help persuade them to try new drugs or trial drugs to potentially improve their health.

Transparency within clinical trials is deemed something that is important in the next 10 years. A willingness to share participant level data and results may be important in keeping patients engaged and informed which may help with future trials.

Check out the full video below:

For information on the 24th annual Partnership in Clinical Trials conference taking place in Boston this April, click here:

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at

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