Sins of omission are seldom fun, and (per Health Care’s Trick Coin, NYT, 2/3/13), Ben Goldacre makes a number of serious mistakes – specifically the claim that the Clinicaltrials.gov registration requirement in FDAAA isn't implemented and that only full transparency/publication of clinical trial will address the issue. As the former senior government official in charge of clinicaltrials.gov, it’s important to look at the facts – and the numbers.
In 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched ClinicalTrials.gov to provide public access to information on clinical studies. Although it initially contained information primarily on NIH-funded research, it has been expanded to include both publicly and privately supported clinical research.
Since the launch of the site, it has been enhanced to significantly increase data sharing. The ClinicalTrials.gov database includes information on nearly 140,000 clinical trials in all 50 states and 182 countries.
Is anyone accessing this wealth of information? Yes! The NIH reported last year that ClinicalTrials.gov “receives more than 95 million page views per month and 60,000 unique visitors daily.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Mr. Goldacre should realize that reality, although sometimes inconvenient to ones argument, remains reality.