GSK ups the ante for trial transparency

Patrick Vallance, GSK's R&D president

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has long been the Big Pharma standard-bearer for open clinical trial data, and now the drugmaker has thrown its support behind the AllTrials campaign, a U.K. initiative to register and publicize all studies.

What that means for CROs is a bit murky. The big names in the industry are noticeably absent from AllTrials' list of signatories, but the idea of putting the results of thousands of trials in the public domain could ultimately be a boon for researchers looking to avoid the pitfalls of previous studies.

In October, GSK announced that it was opening its vaults on tuberculosis and other diseases, posting thousands of results and even disclosing anonymized, patient-level data to investigators pursuing a "valid scientific endeavor."

The company paints it as a moral issue, saying GSK has a duty to share its knowledge in the interest of advancing scientific understanding. "All those involved in the conduct and publication of clinical research, whether healthcare companies like GSK, academia or research organizations, have a role to play in ensuring that the data they generate are made publicly available to help bring patient benefit," R&D President Patrick Vallance said in a statement.

But it remains to be seen whether CROs plan to join the transparency push themselves. GSK's commitment stands in contrast to many of its Big Pharma peers--most of whom are the clients of major CROs--and pledging to disclose all data could be a bad business decision for a contractor looking to woo the industry's less-transparent players.

- read GSK's statement

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