On 14 April 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a new statement outlining its position on public disclosure of clinical trial results. In an essay published in PLoS Medicine to coincide with the release of the position paper, a WHO author team describes the statement as a “[re-affirmation of] the ethical imperative of clinical trial results reporting” as well as an “[update and expansion of] WHO’s 2005 statement that “‘registration of all interventional trials is a scientific, ethical, and moral responsibility’.”
Cochrane contributors have long been advocates of improving transparency in clinical trial reporting, and in 2013 Cochrane helped to establish the AllTrials campaign to raise awareness of the need for all past and present clinical trials to be registered and their results reported. Writing in the same issue of PLoS Medicine, AllTrials co-founder Ben Goldacre described the WHO statement as a “landmark … [representing] important progress on a long-standing and global structural problem that has a clear, negative impact on patient care.”
Dr David Tovey, Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library, also welcomed news of the statement. “The announcement by the WHO about making available all previous unpublished studies is a substantial step forward,” Dr Tovey said. “For Cochrane this means that our researchers will have access to more of the data they need, in order to inform decision making by consumers of health care, health professionals and policy makers more effectively."