Clinical Trials

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 23rd October 2012.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Conservative, Totnes 11:30 am, 23rd October 2012

What his policy is on making available all information about the results of clinical trials to patients, doctors and medicine approval bodies.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government support transparency in publishing results of clinical trials, and they recognise that more can, and should, be done. In future, greater transparency and the disclosure of trial results will be achieved via the development of the European Union clinical trials register, which will make the summary results of trials conducted in the EU publicly available. Greater transparency can only serve to further public confidence in the safety of medicines, which is already robustly assured in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. By law, the outcomes of clinical trials undertaken by companies must be reported to that regulator, including negative results.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. We are grateful to the Minister but some of these answers are simply too long. If they are drafted by officials, Ministers are responsible—[ Interruption. ] Order. I require no assistance at all from the Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry). She should stick to her own duties, which I am sure she will discharge with great effect.

Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Conservative, Totnes

I thank the Minister for his answer and for recognising that missing data from clinical trials distorts the evidence and prevents patients and their doctors from making informed decisions about treatment. Will the Minister meet a delegation of leading academics and doctors who remain concerned that not enough is being done to see how we can ensure that all historic and future data are released into the public domain?

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

My hon. Friend raises absolutely legitimate concerns, which have been raised by others, including Ben Goldacre. I am happy for my noble Friend Lord Howe or me to meet her and experts to discuss this important issue further.

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Education)

I did not have a question on this.