A Big Leap For Medicine: AMA Embraces Trial Reform
The largest association of medical doctors and students in the US, the American Medical Association (AMA)—which represents over 228,000 current healthcare providers—will decide in the coming weeks whether to publicly support the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency in the US. The move comes after the AMA passed a series of policy resolutions supporting increased data sharing and the timely publication of trial results at its recent interim meeting.
The resolutions now mean that it is the AMA’s official policy to: “support the timely dissemination of clinical trial data for public accessibility” where appropriate; promote “improved data sharing and the reaffirmation and enforcement of deadlines for submitting results from clinical research studies;” and encourage greater use of ClinicalTrials.gov, a public clinical trial registry run by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. How these new proposals will be implemented into practice and to what degree has yet to be defined.
The final resolution—for the AMA to publicly support the AllTrials Campaign—was partially adopted, and there was robust support of the principles of the AllTrials petition during the open forum discussion. But full adoption has to be reviewed by the association’s board of 25 elected trustees, and it will be a point of discussion at their upcoming meeting this month.
What does this all mean? Public endorsement of AllTrials by the AMA would invigorate medical communities across the USA to unite and instigate robust change in the way clinical trials are handled, registered and reported. If the AMA recognizes the need for rectifying the current clinical trial reporting strategy and the expectations for researchers running human clinical trials, we might see Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy change or enforcement as early as in 2016.
Brian Chernak, a second-year medical student at SUNY Downstate who proposed the resolutions at the AMA meeting, is hopeful that the association will publicly endorse the AllTrials campaign. “We stress the importance of evidence-based medicine in medical school,” he said, “but the evidence we use to make our clinical decisions should include all the trials that have been conducted on a treatment—both those that show significant results and those that do not.”
“The release of all past, present and future clinical trials, the goals of the AllTrials campaign, will ensure that my future patients will be given treatments based on all of the available evidence. This will enable better calculated outcomes, better clinical decisions, and ultimately the best standard of care for all.”
“We applaud the AMA for addressing the pressing issue of clinical trial reporting,” said Lauren Quattrochi PhD, Director of the AllTrials campaign in the US. “And it shows that we are on the same, exciting path to changing the way we do medical research—something that will benefit doctors and patients everywhere.”
“But there is also an immediate and transformative opportunity here,” she said. “If the AMA publicly support AllTrials, we will take an enormous step toward ending the era of secrecy in clinical trials reporting.”