€3.5trn investor coalition presses pharma firms on clinical trial disclosure

85 pension funds and asset managers back campaign

A coalition of 85 pension funds and asset managers representing more than €3.5trn of assets are meeting with their large pharmaceutical holdings to ask them to register clinical trials, and publish available results – in support of the AllTrials campaign calling for better clinical trial transparency.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners, the Paris-based fund manager, started to drum up investor support for the campaign last year after identifying a lack of clinical trial transparency as an investment risk.

Clinical trials are a key step in drug development, though the results from around half have never been published; and trials with negative results are twice as likely to remain unreported as those with positive results.

BNP Paribas mustered joint investor engagement on clinical trial transparency through the PRI Clearinghouse, and other routes.

The coalition of investors who are meeting with the pharma sector include RobecoSAM, Aviva Investors, Boston Common Asset Management, 65 UK local authority pension funds, and the investment arm of Europe’s largest medical research charity the Wellcome Trust, who joined the campaign after hearing about it at the RI Europe Conference.They plan to focus their attention on the top 25 pharma companies by market capitalization that includes Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

Peter van der Werf, Engagement Specialist at RobecoSAM said: “We are asking all the pharma companies we invest in to move towards transparency. By not being transparent, biopharmaceutical companies put their reputation at risk. We deem this to be a financially material factor and encourage all companies to gain credibility regarding their approach to clinical trial transparency by signing up to the AllTrials principles.”

The AllTrials campaign, is being run by UK-based NGO, Sense about Science, and grew out of the influential, best-selling book, Bad Pharma, by Dr. Ben Goldacre, the physician, academic and broadcaster, who travelled around Europe to encourage investor support.

The campaign calls for all clinical trials past and present to be registered and results reported. Goldacre called the investor campaign “a game changer” sending a clear message to CEOs, boards, and other shareholders that they need to recognise that medicine and society have changed.