Tracking Transparency In Clinical Trials: Progress But To What Standard?
A second survey by the independent NGO Bioethics International shows significant improvement in big pharma’s willingness to share data on clinical trials for important novel drugs. Expectations for further progress remain high, but consensus around a globally consistent, measurable standard is still a long slog.
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Transparency is an issue that continues to pose reputational challenges for biopharma. A key flashpoint is the disclosure – under open access rules – of clinical trial data in a climate of mounting therapeutic competition. Still, some industry players are pushing the boundaries around open access. Project Data Sphere, a non-profit group backed by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, is taking advantage of new IT platforms and the rich target potential in discovery science to press for a larger industry consensus around new ways to release high-value data embedded in years of trials, all for the benefit of cancer patients.
As the global access debate adapts to the stark inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool is emerging as a key player on issues ranging from vaccine tech transfer to making more drugs affordable against the spread of non-communicable diseases like cancer to middle- and low-income countries.
Powered by prominent global health philanthropies and the UK’s world-class collaborative capabilities in disease surveillance, the new International COVID-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) is gearing up to address a crucial – and yet unanswered – policy question for public health: can sharing data curated from a diversity of sources provide the hard evidence needed to improve patient outcomes against the virus – not just for today’s pandemic, but for future ones as well? Much will depend on a robust response from big pharma.