New rules to help public learn results of medical research

The Obama administration is publishing new rules to help doctors and patients learn if clinical trials of treatments worked or not.

At issue is how to help people find medical studies that may be appropriate for them — and then to make the results public so that successes can reach patients more quickly and what fails isn’t duplicated.

Federal law requires reporting the results of certain studies on a government website. But that reporting often doesn’t happen, especially the failures. In June, Vice President Joe Biden cited concern that secrecy was stifling cancer progress.

On Friday, federal health officials released updated requirements on listing studies and posting results. Researchers that don’t meet the requirements for reporting results may face fines or lose taxpayer grants.

The change takes effect Jan. 18.