German universities continue to rapidly improve their clinical trial reporting

German universities are continuing to upload the results of drug trials onto the European trial registry EudraCT at a rapid pace. Over the past four months alone, they have made 70 additional trial results public as required by European Union transparency rules.


The chart below shows the number of trial results progressively made public by each university since TranspariMED’s first assessment of the sector in December 2019.


In little more than a year, the Charite in Berlin, Germany’s largest academic trial sponsor by far, has already made 42 results public. Runners-up are TU Munich (28 results), Cologne (24 results), and Leipzig (23 results).


Collectively, German universities have now made the results of 256 trials public on the European trial registry. A little over a year ago, only 32 results were available on the registry.


The pace of reporting remains high and shows no signs of slowing down.


Key takeaways:

  • The majority of German universities are clearly making a strong and sustained effort to meet public, political, regulatory and scientific expectations around clinical trial transparency.

  • The prize for best transparency performance goes to the University of Leipzig, which achieved a reporting rate of 92% within less than one year. The Leipzig team celebrated its remarkable achievement in this pre-Christmas blog.

  • The pandemic seems to have delayed the launch of registry clean-up operations at some institutions. The data show that Dresden, Marburg-Giessen and Gottingen have only recently started uploading results. Dresden made a particularly impressive start by uploading 14 results within a short time period.

  • Out of 35 universities, only ten have still not achieved visible progress since December 2019: Aachen, Regensburg, Duisburg-Essen, Wurzburg, Magdeburg, Bonn, Lubeck, Bochum, Homburg, and Rostock. (Bonn reportedly has plans to upload its missing results. TranspariMED is not aware of the other institutions’ plans.)


The KKS Netzwerk, a network of 25 German clinical trial units, has been supporting its members’ reporting efforts by offering online trainings. Institutions outside Germany that wish to improve their clinical trial reporting can find useful tools on the TranspariMED website.


TranspariMED will continue to track German universities’ progress over the coming months and years, and provide updates on efforts to curb medical research waste by German legislators, regulators and research funders.


NOTE ON METHODOLOGY


TranspariMED extracted the data above from the University of Oxford’s EU Trials Tracker. The tracker data only includes drug trials listed on the European trial registry. It does not include clinical trials of medical devices and non-drug treatments, which are listed on different registries.


The tracker only counts trials as reported if they have results and are marked as completed and have a completion date in the protocol. For older trials, some German universities first upload the results and only then mark those trials as completed, presumably to boost their publicly visible reporting rate. (This ‘gaming of the system’ does not cause any harm.) This means that even more results than shown above have already been made public; those trials will be flagged as fully reported by the tracker as soon as their status is updated. As in previous assessments, TranspariMED manually consolidated tracker data from multiple portfolios for some German universities.







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