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Irish medical schools excel at reporting clinical trial results

Irish medical schools have made the results of over 85% of their clinical trials available on the European trial registry, making Irish universities the strongest transparency performers in the whole of Europe.

Irish universities’ reporting rate of 85.7% places it ahead of academic institutions in the UK, which have uploaded the results of 72.1% of their trials. In contrast, less than 10% of trials run by Dutch universities have reported their results.

Earlier this year, a report by TranspariMED and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines found that only 17% of clinical trials run by major universities across Europe have results available on the European registry.

Making all clinical trial results public is vital for patients and public health.

There are six medical schools in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Three of these – University College Cork, University College Hospital Galway, and University College Dublin – have a perfect reporting rate of 100%.

  • Only the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland disappoints. It has failed to upload the results of two clinical trials completed in 2017 and 2018, in violation of European transparency rules. One of these trials assessed neonatal outcomes in fetuses at risk of pulmonary hypertension.

  • No clinical trials run by the other two medical schools are due to report results yet.

Important update:

After this blog was published, TranspariMED received the following message from a Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland staff member:

"RCSI are actively following up with our two principal investigators and hope to submit the results for these two trials in early 2020."

Thus, the Irish university sector as a whole seems likely to achieve a perfect 100% reporting rate by early 2020.

Till Bruckner, founder of TranspariMED, said:

“Opponents of transparency in medical research often decry making performance data public as ‘naming and shaming’. However, the same data can also highlight outstanding performance by individual institutions and even an entire sector. Hopefully, the three Irish universities with a perfect compliance record will be able to use this data to reassure taxpayers that public medical research funds are not being wasted, and to reassure patients volunteering to enrol in clinical trials that their efforts will not be in vain."

Universities that want to improve their clinical trial reporting can find a collection of transparency tools, tips and tricks on the TranspariMED website.

Note on methodology: TranspariMED compiled the data above using EU Trials Tracker figures for November 2019. TranspariMED did not check whether the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority is ensuring that the status of all trials on the registry is being kept up to date.

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