The World Health Organisation (WHO) will seek support for a system to keep track of clinical trials at its Ministerial Summit on Health Research in Mexico next week (16-20 November). The system would form an Internet-based means of accessing registers of clinical trials around the world. The WHO also wants to create a system allowing individual trials to be identified and tracked.
The system has been proposed as a way of reducing the duplication of trials. Researchers and patient advocates have been lobbying for a global register as a means of bringing more information about clinical trails — especially those undertaken by pharmaceutical companies — into the public domain. The WHO would establish minimum standards on what information to include in the each registry.
Registries of clinical trials are starting to garner support after recent scandals about important unpublished data about safety of antidepressants that were already on the market. Financing hurdles might make it difficult for clinical trial data from developing countries to be incorporated into a global system.
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