- To do that Dr Irving used the hash generated from the trial protocol as a “private key”—essentially a password that allows someone to spend bitcoins in his online wallet.
- Anyone with a copy of the trial protocol should be able to reproduce the above steps to check if they resulted in the same public key.
- Dr Irving believes the method could prevent “hidden outcome switching”, the egregious and statistically flawed practice of secretly changing the focus of a clinical trial to fit the results.
- A study last year of 137 trials found 60 reported on outcomes they were not looking for, according to their original protocol.
- As long as the public key was uploaded to a registry when the trial began, the protocol could be verified later without the worry that it had been changed during the study.
CLINICAL trials are a murky old world. The pharmaceutical industry is keen to get new drugs to market and researchers are just as keen to report positive results. This can produce some rather unpleasant side-effects. Selective reporting of data from trials is rife.
@sriniattili: Clinical trials: Better with bitcoin via @TheEconomist
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