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Release of individual patient data from the PACE trial

By investigators of the PACE trial:

"We have received many requests for access to individual patient data collected in the PACE trial.

We have supplied requested, anonymised data to independent scientists, as part of normal research collaboration. Among others, these include a Cochrane review group who have independently validated the trial findings on the primary outcomes, and who are now undertaking an individual patient data meta-analysis using these data.

We are however also concerned for the rights and welfare of trial participants. Participants did not give consent to the public release of their data when they entered the trial. In particular we are concerned to ensure that there is no risk of misuse of the data such as through inadvertent personal identification. The scientists who have already received data have all signed a formal confidentiality agreement, approved by the independent PACE Trial Steering Committee, which required that they respect the confidential nature of the data, and keep them secure, as agreed with trial participants when they consented to take part. We stand by our decisions to decline two recent applications for trial data as we believe that they did not meet these requirements.

We are currently seeking further ethical and scientific advice, as well as the advice of patients, on how best to provide independent decisions about appropriate access to relevant data in a way that balances the rights of trial participants, and future progress of the trial analysis and follow up, with the public interest in releasing trial data."