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Type: Journal article
Title: The pregnant women as a drug orphan: a global survey of registered clinical trials of pharmacological interventions in pregnancy
Author: Scaffidi, J.
Mol, B.
Keelan, J.
Citation: BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2017; 124(1):132-140
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1470-0328
Statement of
J Scaffidi, B W Mol, J A Keelan
Abstract: Objective: To undertake a survey of the world's clinical trial registries to provide current data on the number, nature, funding source and geographical distribution of pregnancy drug trials (PDT). Design and setting: Comprehensive analysis of WHO-certified clinical trial registries. Methods Sixteen registries containing 301 538 trials (168 826 active in 2013–2014) were analysed to identify the numbers, location, funding sources, and areas of interest/development of PDTs. Results: The percentage of PDTs varied from 0 to 7.4% across registries. Overall, just 0.32% (534) of all active registered studies were PDTs. The US registry ( was the largest database, but contributed just 14% of all active PDTs. The majority of PDTs focused on anaesthesia/analgesia, preterm birth/tocolysis, labour induction, endocrine and hypertensive disorders. Less than 6% of active PDTs focused on maternal or fetal health as a specific primary outcome, and only 4.4% included a preplanned pharmacokinetic analysis of the trial medications. A third of all active PDTs involved repurposing of existing medicines for applications in pregnancy, whereas only three new investigational drugs had been developed for a pregnancy indication. Seven percent of all active PDTs identified were pharmaceutical industry-funded. Inter-disease comparisons identified a ~50-fold disparity in trial activity between pregnancy and other comparable areas. Conclusions: This study demonstrates unequivocally the marked under-representation of medication development, evaluation and safety trials in pregnancy. The likelihood that the current pharmaceutical landscape in pregnancy will improve in the foreseeable future is slim. Advocacy and increased awareness of the issue is necessary to achieve positive change. Tweetable abstract: Pregnant women are significantly under-represented in global clinical drug trials.
Keywords: Clinical trials
drug development
drug safety
Rights: © 2016 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.14151
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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