Despite the global rollout of experimental COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, the participant level data underlying the trials for these experimental new products “remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public—and are likely to remain that way for years to come,” warned one of the world’s oldest medical journals in an editorial published on Wednesday (Jan. 19).
“This is morally indefensible for all trials, but especially for those involving major public health interventions,” the British Medical Journal wrote.
Pfizer’s pivotal trial for it’s COVID-19 mRNA injection was funded by the company itself and designed, run, analyzed, and written by Pfizer employees. The company and the contract research organizations that carried out the trial still hold all the data, and Pfizer has indicated it won’t begin considering requests for trial data until May 2025—24 months after the primary study completion date of May 15, 2023 listed on ClinicalTrials.gov.
This bizarre lack of access to data is consistent across all COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, and the data for COVID-19 treatments are also similarly very difficult to locate. We are left only with publications and no access to the underlying data. According to the British Medical Journal, this is worrying for trial participants, researchers, clinicians, journal editors, policy makers, and the public.
Meanwhile, Big Pharma companies are reaping massive profits without much scrutiny of their scientific claims.
“We need complete data transparency for all studies, we need it in the public interest, and we need it now,” the journal concluded.