Many Clinical Trials Often Absent From Journals

Clinical trial results are almost always listed in government sources, but many never make it into published literature, where they would have much greater exposure. The authors of a new research letter, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, noted that the exclusion of certain clinical trial results, which provide scientific data on a drug, leaves “a distorted body of public evidence.”

In order to assess the availability of clinical trial results in the public domain, researchers evaluated the availability of results in PubMed-cited publications and/or results posted in Clinicaltrials.gov.

The study consisted of 329 trials studying 86 drugs and representing 96 unique sponsor-drug-condition trial sets.

The results found that Clinicaltrials.gov consisted of nearly one-quarter of sampled drug trials and more than one-tenth of sampled sponsor-drug-condition trial sets. However, results remain unavailable in Clinicaltrials.gov or PubMed 7 or more years after study completion for nearly one-quarter of sampled drug trials and more than one-tenth of sampled sponsor-drug-condition trial sets.

“Systematic reviewers who rely entirely on literature searches are at risk of missing relevant evidence,” the authors wrote.

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