The World Health Organization is calling for tighter registration of clinical drug trials so that negative findings cannot be kept secret.
The WHO is urging drugs firms and research bodies to register all medical studies on humans from the outset.

Currently researchers can opt to wait until they are well advanced in their work before reporting on results.

It follows disastrous drugs trials at London's Northwick Park Hospital which left six men seriously ill.

Many doctors are concerned about drug safety after a string of recent scares.

A recent survey in the US suggested that since medicines such as arthritis drug Vioxx were taken off the market because of higher heart attack risks, seven out of 10 doctors were more worried about prescribing.

The Geneva-based health body has drawn up a 20-point check list for the kind of information to be included in any registry of trials before they start.

It also plans to provide access to drug trial registries run globally by corporations, institutions and hospitals, through a new registry platform.

These would then have to meet certain standards set out by the WHO.

It is hoped the registry platform would provide standardised framework for what has to be reported to register a trial and ease identification.

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