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LAPFF joins campaign demanding pharmaceutical trial transparency

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The UK’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has joined a group of investors lobbying pharmaceutical companies to improve clinical-trial transparency.

The aim is to persuade pharmaceutical companies owned by local government pension schemes (LGPS) and their associated asset managers to move towards complete trial transparency.

The LAPFF, a £165bn (€233bn) collective of 65 LGPS schemes, is working with the AllTrials campaign, which has called for all clinical trails past and present to be registered and for results to be reported.

The campaign is widely supported among the medical community.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners brought together the LAPFF with RobecoSAM, Aviva Investors, Boston Commons Asset Management and the Wellcome Trust to target the top 25 listed pharmaceutical companies.

Co-founder of the AllTrials campaign, Ben Goldacre, said the involvement of investors was a “game changer” as it forced chief executives and other shareholders to recognise medicine was changing.

“Companies cannot expect any longer to routinely withhold the results of clinical trials on treatments taken by millions of people around the world,” he said.

“These investment firms are showing clearly they will reward good data and best practice.

“You don’t need to hide data to make money in medicine. In fact, quite the opposite is true.”

The campaign said approximately half of past trials showed no transparency in results whatsoever, with many never even registering with authorities.

Clinical trials with negative results are also twice as likely as those with positive ones to go unreported.

Kieran Quinn, chair at the LAPFF, said trial transparency could be key in assessing pharmaceutical companies’ valuations and thereby reducing the risk of mispricing.

“Investor calls for increased transparency around clinical trials should be acknowledged and acted on by the industry,” he said. 

“The AllTrails initiative is a positive development for institutional investors and has LAPFF support.”

RobecoSAM Engagement specialist Peter van der Werf said companies were also putting their reputations 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,” he said.

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