Medical journal editors may mandate drug companies register in public database

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The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors is considering a proposal that would mandate drug makers to register clinical trials in a public database as a prerequisite for publication, according to three members who spoke with the New York Times. The proposal was discussed last week at a meeting of the journal editors' group. One person said a decision could come in the summer.

Pharmaceutical companies are not required now to disclose results of a trial or even whether one was conducted. Some academic researchers have long argued that fuller registries of drug trials are needed because companies, as well as medical journals and scientists, tend to spotlight only trials that show positive results, thus skewing the drugs' effects.

The committee includes 12 prestigious medical journals such as The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and The Annals of Internal Medicine.