Investors representing more than €3.5 trillion in assets are asking the pharmaceutical companies they invest in to move towards transparency.
The group of 85 pension funds and asset managers announced in July 2015 that they support the aims of the AllTrials campaign and want the pharma companies to set out their plans to get clinical trials, past, present and future, registered and results reported. This was a huge moment for the AllTrials campaign, which has been run by Sense about Science since it began in 2013.
BNP Paribas Investment Partners worked with AllTrials to bring together the group which includes RobecoSAM, Aviva Investors, Boston Commons Asset Management, 65 UK local authority pension funds and the investment arm of the Wellcome Trust. We held a series of workshops with investors in Europe and the US over the last 6 months to develop the practical steps they are today writing to companies to ask them to take. These steps include:
- Retrospectively registering past and ongoing clinical trials, and registering all future trials before they begin
- Publishing the methods and full results of all trials, including information on adverse events
- Posting an objective summary of results within one year of completion of the trial, following the guidelines on ClinicalTrials.gov
- Supporting efforts to provide independent researchers access to anonymised individual patient data
“For those who thought they could ignore AllTrials, those who thought they could ignore public calls for transparency, and those who thought no one was checking their compliance with the rules, here’s a clear message from investors: Wake up.” — Síle Lane, director of campaigns, Sense about Science
“This is a game changer. It sends a clear message to CEO’s, boards, and other shareholders: they need to recognise that medicine and society have changed. Companies cannot expect any longer to routinely withhold the results of clinical trials on treatments taken by millions of people around the world. Pharma is increasingly split, with many showing leadership on transparency, and some stuck in the past.” — Dr Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Pharma
“Alongside doctors and their patients, investors also risk being misled, given that an average of around 30% of pharmaceutical company valuations directly relates to the results of Phase III clinical trials. With company valuations and expected revenue streams a key component of the stock selection process, it is essential that companies publish complete and accurate information on trial results so that investment decisions can be fully informed.” — Helena Viñes Fiestas, Head of Sustainability Research, BNP Paribas Investment Partners
“We are asking all the pharma companies we invest in to move towards transparency. By not being transparent, biopharmaceutical companies put their reputation at risk. We deem this to be a financially material factor and encourage all companies to gain credibility regarding their approach to clinical trial transparency by signing up to the AllTrials principles.” — Peter van der Werf, Engagement Specialist, RobecoSAM
“The Wellcome Trust has a long record of campaigning for wider access to research data, and we strongly support the AllTrials initiative both as a charity devoted to improving health and as an investor with holdings in the healthcare sector. We believe that more open trial data adds value not only to our charitable mission, but also to companies in which we invest by positioning them as responsible industry leaders. We also use our access as an investor to connect the management of these companies to scientific and policy colleagues who are expert in this issue, who can engage from a position of knowledge.” — Nick Moakes, MD, Head of Equities, Wellcome Trust
Trials and errors, The Economist, editorial (25 July 2015)
Spilling the beans: Failure to publish the results of all clinical trials is skewing medical science, The Economist (25 July 2015)
Investors join push for more transparency on drug trials, FT (23 July 2015)
Funds Join Campaign to Pressure Pharma to Disclose Trial Data, The Wall Street Journal (22 July 2015)