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New powers needed to tackle hidden clinical trial data, say MPs

MPs have called on the government agency responsible for clinical trials governance to be given new powers and funding to drive up the publication of data from trials.

Despite huge pressure on researchers to publish in recent years, such data is still going unreported, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee warns. This is threatening human health and research integrity as a result, it said.

In a report published 30 October, the committee says that the Health Research Authority should introduce a system of sanctions to drive improvements in clinical trials transparency. Such sanctions could include withdrawing favourable ethical opinion or preventing further trials from taking place, for example. The government should consult on whether to give statutory powers to the HRA to fine sponsors for non-compliance, according to the committee. 

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