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Universities under pressure over clinical trial transparency

Universities that fail to ensure their staff publish the results of clinical trials could face blanket bans on future research, under a push to increase transparency in medicine.

Prompted by growing worries about problems seen in universities concerning registering research studies and making results public, the Health Research Authority is developing a comprehensive transparency strategy. The authority, which is responsible for the governance of clinical trials, plans to consult on it later this year.

Speaking to Research Fortnight, Simon Kolstoe, an adviser to the HRA on research ethics, said it was possible that universities who have bad track records of publishing trial results would not be given further ethics approval until they have improved. “I think it’s very clear that there needs to be perhaps more of a stick approach,” said Kolstoe, a senior fellow and university ethics adviser at the University of Portsmouth.

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