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Biden threatens to defund universities that don’t publish cancer trial results

Researchers who fail to report clinical trial results will risk losing funding

Alex Wong/Getty Images

During a National Cancer Summit earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden pledged to take action against research institutions that don't report their clinical trial results.

Biden issued the remarks during his opening address at the Howard University’s summit, citing a 2015 Stat News report that showed that several prominent research centers, including Stanford University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, had failed to report their results. That deprives "patients and doctors of complete data to gauge the safety and benefits of treatments," Biden said.

"Under the law, it says you must report."

He noted that some of the lapses cited in the Stat News report needed to be addressed, and that researchers using funds from the National Institutes of Health would be required to issue the results of their clinical trials. "Under the law, it says you must report," Biden said. Offenders will risk losing their funding. "We have to change the culture of research that turns scientists into grant writers," Biden said. He went on to note that the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which President Obama launched during his 2016 State of the Union address to research and develop new cancer cures, was designed to both streamline the research process and to get resources into the right hands to be effective.

In addition to his remarks on reporting lapses, the Vice President highlighted the need for affordable treatments. "The costs for life-saving drugs are astronomical," he remarked. "What is the possible justification when a drug — a lifesaving drug — is brought to market [and] costs $26,000 a year, and fifteen years later costs $120,000?"

Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, headlined the National Cancer Summit as part of the Cancer Moonshot. Biden, whose son Beau died in 2015 due to complications from brain cancer, was tasked with leading the initiative during President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address in January.