Over 700 clinical trials run by the ten largest Dutch institutions are still missing results, but major institutions are now working to fix the problem, new data suggest.
Full results are publicly available on the European trial registry for only 52 clinical trials run by the Dutch cohort, less than 7% of all due trials. This is still far below the European average reporting rate of 28% for major non-commercial trial sponsors.
Making clinical trial results public on the European trial registry is a regulatory obligation. It prevents research waste and accelerates medical progress.
Top institution leads the way
The country’s largest sponsor, Radboudumc, has the strongest transparency record with 21 reported trial results (green). An estimated 102 Radboudumc trials are still missing results or are not marked as completed (red). A further 124 trials are not yet due to report results because they are still ongoing or have only recently been completed (grey).
Largest sponsors are taking action
On the positive side, nearly all major Dutch institutions have uploaded additional results over the course of 2021.
Between February and November 2021, Radboudumc uploaded 10 due trial results as part of an ongoing systematic effort to clear its backlog of unreported trials. Erasmus University uploaded 6 additional due results. Only HOVON Foundation has made no visible progress.
Note: The chart only counts results for trials that are marked as 'completed' and have a completion date.
The charts above suggest that the Netherlands may finally be starting to catch up with the rest of Europe in terms of clinical trial transparency.
While there is still a long way to go, nearly all of the largest players now appear to be addressing the problem, reflecting a Europe-wide pattern: The country's top institution moves first, other major players follow the leader, and then the entire sector starts to shift.
Speed of progress varies between institutions
Experience from other European countries shows that when institutions first start tackling their backlogs of unreported clinical trials, visible progress can be very slow, making it difficult to determine how fast institutions are moving to fix the problem.
For example, a closer look at Radboudumc's trial portfolio shows that it has already uploaded dozens of additional results that do not yet appear as "due and reported" because of minor data inconsistencies - all of these trials will presumably appear as fully reported very soon. In contrast, University of Groningen has only three additional results of this kind in its pipeline.
TranspariMED will continue tracking Dutch sponsors’ performance throughout the coming year, and will launch a report with media outreach in spring 2022 to document institutions’ progress in greater detail.
Note: Dutch clinical trial data on the European trial registry are unreliable due to the exceptionally weak data management by the responsible national regulator, CCMO. For this reason, the precise number of due trials for each sponsor is impossible to determine. Please see this previous TranspariMED report for the assumptions and methodology used to calculate the numbers cited in this blog.