Access to Knowledge – the Moral and Clinical Case

Posted by jim on 26/03/12

I’ve just read four papers on access to clinical trial data published in open access (no paywall) in “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes”, a journal of the American Heart Association.

One is a paper by Peter Gotsche, essentially a written version of his address to a seminar in the European Parliament which I covered in a previous post. This is a short but in my view conclusive argument for access to clinical trial data.

In a second more technical article by Ross and others the authors deal with some of the complications of gaining access to data , while pointing out that in current circumstances “..patients, physicians and other health care professionals, and the research community are .. making clinical or research decisions with access to only a fraction of the relevant clinical evidence that might otherwise be available.

(This is surely a cause for patients’ organisations to promote.)

An editorial by Krumholz also makes a powerful case for access to trial data and does so in clear and non-technical language. A second editorial, by Spertus is more technical and also more cautious about the practicalities of achieving full access to trial data, while acknowledging the merits of the case for doing so.

All four articles are well worth reading with the two by Peter Gotsche and Harald Krumholz making easier reading for the layperson.

My thanks to Marilyn Mann who told me about these articles and who runs a blog that I like a lot. Have a look here.

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