If researchers are caught failing to report negative results from clinical studies of experimental cancer treatments, they could be forced to pay back any federal money that funded the research, if a bill introduced by a US Congressman last week is signed into law. Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) unveiled the new legislation on Thursday (May 4), explaining that current reporting rules governing federal grantees are not being enforced sufficiently. "The more information available to all researchers, the greater the chance that we will someday find a cure for this horrible disease," Reed said in a statement. "Public reporting of both positive and negative results will help other research be more effective and less duplicative. Enforcing the reporting requirement will not only lead to more available cancer research data, but also help every taxpayer dollar spent on research go further toward finding a cure."
The bill requires that all federally funded cancer trial results, positive or negative, be posted on ClinicalTrials.gov. Grantees who fail to do so, as often occurs when drug developers want to deemphasize negative results, will have to repay grants to the Treasury Department. For more on the impacts of sharing clinical trial results, see "Data Diving" in this month's issue of The Scientist.