AAFP Demands Clinical Trials Data Transparency

Information from clinical trials should not be hidden or cherry picked

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223

LEAWOOD, Kan. — When researchers want to assess the effectiveness of a drug, they turn to a clinical trial. The results can be eye opening. Sometimes the data illustrates exactly what they hope to see. Other times, it shows an unwanted effect. Sometimes it’s something in between.

Regardless, the discoveries from clinical trials have incalculable value to the medical community and the patients they serve. But all too often, the results are kept far from the public eye.

The American Academy of Family Physicians views this lack of transparency as unethical and a threat to public health. That’s why the AAFP is signing on as an organizational supporter of the AllTrials(www.alltrials.net) campaign. The AllTrials campaign is a United Kingdom-based initiative that calls for all past, present and future clinical trials to be registered, and their results be reported. The AAFP is joining nearly 600 organizations across the globe that have signed on in support of the campaign.

As a champion for evidence-based medicine, the AAFP views the registration of all clinical trials and the availability of clinical trial data as essential for the promotion of independent analysis, patient safety, and shared decision making between physicians and patients.

“As a family physician, I rely on the best available evidence to inform the decisions I make and the conversations I have with my patients. Currently, the information we have from clinical trials is often cherry picked, or worse—completely hidden from public view. This creates huge problems for medical professionals and patients all over the globe,” said Robert Wergin, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The AllTrials campaign began in 2013, and launched in the United States earlier this week. It is an initiative of Ben Goldacre, BMJ, Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, Cochrane Collaboration, James Lind Initiative, PLOS and Sense About Science(www.senseaboutscienceusa.org) and is being led in the US by Sense About Science USA, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).