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Top institutions in Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria lead the way on clinical trial reporting

Top medical research institutions in four countries are currently uploading missing clinical trial results onto the European trial registry at an unprecedented pace.

  • Instituto Mario Negri – Italy

  • Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (VHIR) – Spain

  • Charité – Germany

  • Medical University Vienna – Austria

Going forward, these institutions will accelerate medical progress by ensuring that all drug trials make their results public within just 12 months.

More details on each institution's plans are provided below.

Instituto Mario Negri – Italy

Instituto Mario Negri’s reputation as a beacon of research integrity and scientific excellence extends far beyond its native Italy.

This is reflected in its very strong clinical trial transparency performance. The non-profit institute has already reported 88% of its due trial results, putting it far ahead of other major non-commercial trial sponsors in Italy, none of which seem to have even begun addressing the problem so far.

The presence of a high profile role model within their country will hopefully encourage other Italian institutions to up their game in the near future.

Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (VHIR) – Spain

To the best of TranspariMED’s knowledge, Barcelona’s VHIR is the first non-commercial research institution in Spain to systematically tackle its backlog of unreported clinical trials.

The emergence of VHIR as a national hub of excellence in clinical trial reporting will hopefully raise the bar for other Spanish research institutions and provide a positive role model for them to learn from.

In an email, the university hospital explained that it is currently reviewing its internal procedures to ensure that in future, the results of its drug trials are made public within 12 months. In parallel, VHIR is tackling its backlog of unreported trials:

“[W]e are confident we will be able to resolve this issue in a timely manner… To amend the situation of the academic clinical trials that are closed and whose results have not been published yet, we will recruit data entry personnel starting January 2021.”

VHIR added that its efforts benefit from regular exchanges with two fellow members of the European University Hospital Alliance, the UK’s Kings Health Partners and Germany’s Charité (see also below).

Charité – Germany

With a portfolio of 196 drug trials, Berlin-based Charité is by far the largest academic medical research institution in Germany.

While most – maybe all – universities in Germany are already working to improve their trial reporting, Charité’s efforts are notable for their highly ambitious timeline.

In an email, Charité explained that:

“[A]ll clinical studies at the Charité are now centrally tracked over the entire course of time and supported in the publication of study results. In doing so, compliance with the associated deadlines for the publication of results is also closely monitored centrally."

"The Charité has established a working group for studies that have already exceeded the planned deadline for the publication of results in EudraCT in order to systematically follow up these studies… We aim to put the majority of the study results online before the end of this year, although the processing and online publication of some of the studies may not be completed until the first half of 2021.”

[Disclosure: TranspariMED founder Till Bruckner holds a part-time position as a research fellow at the BIH QUEST Center of the Charité and was involved in some of the preparatory work on trial reporting. He was not involved in decision-making regarding the scope and pace of Charité’s ambitions.]

Medical University Vienna – Austria

The influence of Medical University Vienna extends far beyond its native Austria. With a portfolio of 396 drug trials, it is the largest non-commercial sponsor of drug trials in the whole of Europe.

A TranspariMED report published in April 2019 showed that only 14 the university’s due drug trials had results available on the European registry. Since then, data from the EU Trials Tracker has shown a remarkable improvement in the university’s trial reporting. By July 2020, the university had already uploaded the results of 41 due trials as part of systematic efforts to clear its backlog of unreported clinical trials, a positive trend that seem likely to accelerate further in the near future.

The two other large medical universities in the country, Graz and Innsbruck, are also making rapid progress.

Till Bruckner, founder of TranspariMED, said:

Until recently, patients routinely to had to wait two or three years until the results of clinical trials were made public, if they were made public at all."

"Now, top medical research institutions across Europe are pledging to make the results of all their drug trials publicly available within just 12 months, while at the same time making the results of older trials publicly available."

"This is excellent news for patients because it will considerably accelerate the development of better and safer medicines.”

“It is encouraging to see the emergence of national hubs of excellence in Italy and Spain in particular. Hopefully, other universities and hospitals in those countries will soon follow in the footsteps of these pioneering institutions.”

Universities and hospitals that wish to improve their clinical trial reporting can use TranspariMED's collection of Transparency Tools.

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