A recent article in the BMJ reports that when they investigated large RCTs (more than 500 participants) that had been registered and appeared to have been completed at least 4 years ago, 29% of them were still not published.
The included trials had nearly 300,000 patients enrolled. That is 300,000 people who volunteered (or volunteered their children or babies) to be part of a trial, for reasons which usually include an altruistic desire to improve medical knowledge for future sick persons, but whose data have never been made public. Industry funded trials were more likely to remain unpublished, but nearly 1 in 5 non-industry funded trials were also not published.
This is an ethical failure.
In addition to not respecting the wishes of the participants in previous clinical trials, the medical literature is biased by the non-publication of trial data, so we do not know the real size of treatment effects. Many regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical companies and patient groups agree and are collaborating in this new movement. But there are still some lobbyists who are trying to get exemptions so that the literature can continue to be unreliable.
Sign up to alltrials.net, and add your voice to those demanding the publication of all trials.