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Shire says all its studies will publish in open access journals

The Irish biotech says its focus on rare diseases was a key factor behind the decision

Shire

In a drive towards greater transparency, Shire has said that in future its peer review articles will only be submitted to journals that provide open access to the full text of papers.

The new publication policy came into effect on 2 January and according to the company the move will “allow … the public to obtain free, unrestricted online access to Shire’s research promptly following publication”.

It believes it is the first biopharma company to implement this open access policy, and also reckons it is the “only company to report the results from all of its clinical studies posted on clinicaltrials.gov”, the US trials registry.

A 2016 study found that around half of all trials run by pharma companies, universities and other major research sponsors remained unpublished on the registry, but concluded that Shire had a spotless record on that measure.

The new policy means studies supported by the rare disease specialist will no longer appear behind pay walls operated by many journals, and was officially unveiled at the 2018 European Meeting of International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) held in London this week.

“Shire’s new open access policy builds on our commitment to transparency and reflects our dedication to helping patients by allowing everyone to freely access and learn from our research findings,” said Christopher Rains, Shire’s head of global medical affairs.

The company says its focus on rare diseases is a key factor behind the decision, as transparency is particularly important when it comes to advancing new therapies for treating the 7,000 or so identified rare diseases that still in the vast majority of cases have no treatment options.

“We believe it’s imperative to pioneer a new standard of access to publications that can encourage collaboration and drive medical innovation, with a goal of helping to bring innovative treatments to patients more rapidly,” said Rains.

The new policy comes against a backdrop of a lot of promises by the pharma industry to improve on transparency that have often fallen short. Last year for example, an audit of 42 top manufacturers from the EU, US and Japan by the trial transparency pressure group AllTrials found massive variations between companies when it came to registering and reporting the results of clinical trials. Shire wasn’t assessed in that audit.

Presenting at the ISMPP alongside Rains, Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust charity, said that while pharmaceutical companies fund around 60% of all medical research, the industry as a whole has been slow to adopt open access policies.

“This approach helps to ensure that research findings can be built on by the widest possible audience in a manner that maximises health and public benefit,” said Kiley.

Article by
Phil Taylor

24th January 2018

From: Research

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