I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sir Simon Wessely – a renowned British psychiatrist. He’s exactly as lovely as he seems in his writing!
On the same day that I met Sir Simon, I had been discussing the challenges of publishing ‘lost’ clinical trials with someone else. I wish I’d discussed it with him, because then I could claim some sort of tangential influence on his decision to write my recommended read for this weekend: a blog post in which he describes a ‘lost’ trial involving him.
It is easy to claim that non-publication of trials may be result of deliberate decisions, such as a wish not to publicise negative results, and we know this does indeed happen. But probably more common is a more understandable and human sequence of events. A first attempt at publication fails. Teams break up. Some leave academic life and start families. Others move into busy clinical posts, or take on new demanding projects. And time marches on.
As you see, it adds a neat anecdotal riposte to the growing clamour of voices which seem to claim – intentionally or otherwise – that non-publication of trials is always a function of ‘evil’ people working for ‘big pharma’. It’s well worth a read.