All primary medical studies conducted in humans, with either public and/or private monies, must be published within a maximum of 12 months after their conclusion, unless the study organizers have a compelling reason (determined by the courts) to continue to keep the results secret, such as to secure patents. These studies would include basic research, clinical research and epidemiological studies. Currently, it is all too common for only those studies favorable toward a drug or procedure to be published while other inconclusive studies or negative studies are withheld. This status quo leads to a very significant misleading of both the public and scientific community in regards to the effectiveness of many medicines and medical practices. Naturally, biases in this type of information lead to unnecessary and very significant increases in human sufferings and death and/or lead to significant reductions in the rate of improved human health. Such biases also lead to gigantic wastes of resources due to duplication of studies and misguided studies.
An unbiased third party should be the agency that designs and conducts medical research trials so that inherent conflict of interests of companies testing their own drugs could be avoided. A representative industry congress could be the entity that operates this organization. Perhaps the best thing would be to create an integrated database based on some kind of standard that would be able to more easily allow the necessary information to be captured in a standardized way so as to measure multiple variables. One way would be to institute a comprehensive health statistics database into which all patient data would be loaded.
Secondary research studies mainly involve a study of previous research data, and it would be very beneficial for all such studies of this nature to be mandated to be made public as well.
All trial funding sources must be made publicly available within 12 months of the conclusion of any trial.
Perhaps the government or an industry congress could mandate that the industry decide on one medium/publication (such as a website) devoted to publishing such studies. Such a website should be designed so as to allow researchers and the public to easily find all studies concerning a drug or medical procedure.
In fact, all scientific research, regardless of discipline, conducted, at least in part, with public monies should be published within a maximum of 5 years of completion, unless national security is an issue. With the exception of medical research which should always be published, all other privately funded research should be encouraged to be published.
Understandably, private research will often generate information that could clearly be kept confidential without any potential of public harm. Examples include company mining data, recipe formulas such as for Coca-Cola or KFC chicken, etc. These are decisions that could be made on a case by case basis and which an industry congress could adjudicate.
The main idea of this proposal is to release to the public, in a timely manner, basic research information about the world, especially in relation to human health, so that everyone would have access to it and build upon it to continue learning about how the world works. To allow such data to be essentially forgotten by not being made readily available to the scientific and public communities, contributes to the delayed and inefficient advance of scientific progress due to the increased duplication of efforts, misdirected resources, a smaller base of established fact and loss of potential due to the compounding time-value quality of scientific discoveries.