Aug 17, 2022 - Health

Some NIH-funded clinical trials never report results

Illustration of a pencil erasing one X from a pattern of Xs
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The National Institutes of Health failed to sanction institutions and labs running government-funded clinical trials for not reporting their results despite requirements to do so, according to a new report from a federal watchdog.

Why it matters: Clinical trial results are crucial to pushing science forward, informing future researchers what methods or techniques might or might not work for future study design.

What they found: HHS's Office of the Inspector General reviewed 72 NIH-funded clinical trials from 2019 to 2020.

  • Sponsors of just 35 of these trials submitted clinical trial results on time; a dozen trials submitted results late while 25 trials never submitted results.
  • NIH took "limited enforcement action" against labs and research partners who didn't submit results and even continued to fund new research done by these groups, the report found.
  • Clinical trial results should be submitted within a year of the estimated or actual completion date.

Of note: NIH agreed with all of the recommendations from the OIG report, including making needed improvements to its reporting procedures and enforcement methods.

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