N – Where are the negative results?

“In their own way, academic journals are exactly as selective as the tabloid health pages,” claims the doctor and journalist Ben Goldacre in the Guardian newspaper on 20 September (http://tinyurl.com/4lyrq2). He writes that only 5.9% of industry sponsored trials on cancer treatment get published and that 75% had positive results. Doctors and academics need all data, positive and negative, to make fully informed decisions about treatment and the direction in which research should go. A comparison of all cancer trials registered in clinicaltrials.gov and published and indexed in PubMed found that only 17.6% of 2028 trials were published, 64.5% with positive results.