At a glance: Industry launches clinical trials internet portal

Another clinical trials website? It’s not just another company site. We’re talking about the new clinical trials portal set up by the Switzerland-based International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).

Tell us more.
It claims to be the first search engine whose specific purpose is to provide a link to available online information about clinical trials worldwide.

Haven't we been here before?
Not really. GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, AstraZeneca, Roche, Organon and Novartis have all launched their own clinical trials data sites. Plus
the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)
has had its own website of results since 2003 and there is already a
US site. But this is the first time something purporting to link them
all has launched.

So this is mandatory information, then?
Er, no. Companies have made it available as part of an international pharma industry agreement on good practice but there is still no
legal requirement to do so. 'This portal is a further demonstration
of the industry's determination to do its utmost to make these data readily accessible to the public,' insists ABPI director-general Dr Richard Barker.

How wide-ranging is the agreement to show clinical trial data?
It was drawn up after discussions involving the IFPMA, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the Japanese Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

And all clinical trials will be included in this scheme?
Other than exploratory trials – and even those results will be published if they have 'significant medical importance', according to the IFPMA. All trials to determine a medicine's therapeutic benefit, plus results of industry-sponsored trials on the safety and benefit of a medicine that has been approved for marketing, will be shown.

What's the timescale?
Results should be published within a year after the medicine is approved or one year after post-approval trials have been completed.

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