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Promoting global health through clinical trial transparency

Prevent research waste and grand corruption

The current lack of transparency in clinical trials threatens progress on the Sustainable Development Goals' health objectives. Unreported and misreported clinical trial outcomes result in the misallocation of public health funds, reduced pandemic preparedness, and a slowdown in the development of new vaccines, treatments and cures. Donors can strengthen trial transparency by promoting the adoption and implementation of the World Health Organization's best practices, rescuing unreported trial results from the global pile of research waste, and supporting transparency initiatives.

24 September 2018
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Promoting global health through clinical trial transparency

Main points

  • Around half of clinical trial outcomes remain unreported, contributing to $170 billion in medical research funding that goes to waste every year
  • Existing laws and regulations are typically limited in scope, and compliance is insufficiently monitored and enforced
  • Compared to the high cost of conducting clinical trials, the cost of making trial outcomes publicly available is minimal
  • Promoting clinical trial transparency is a highly cost-effective way to support the achievement of Social Development Goal 3, access to effective and affordable medicines, and wider global health objectives

Cite this publication

Bruckner, T. (2018) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2018:5)

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About the author

Till Bruckner

Till Bruckner is the founder of TranspariMED, an initiative that works to end evidence distortion in medicine. He previously worked for the AllTrials campaign, Transparency International Georgia, and in international development and development finance. He remains active with Transparify, an initiative to promote transparency and integrity in policy research and advocacy. Till holds a PhD in political science from the University of Bristol, U.K.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


UN Photo/Martine Perret