Free access to new paper on NMAs in clinical research

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  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 07 January 2016
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of Getty Images

A new article written for Pharmaceutical Statistics has been made freely available to read until the end of this month. 'On the need for increased rigour and care in the conduct and interpretation of network meta-analyses in drug development' is written by two well-known eminent statisticians, one of whom is the most senior statistician at the UK regulatory agency.

Kevin Carroll of Bramhall Cheshire UK and University of Sheffield and Robert Hemmings of MHRA write that 'the rise over recent years in the use of network meta-analyses (NMAs) in clinical research and health economic analysis is little short of meteoric driven, in part, by a desire from decision makers to extend inferences beyond direct comparisons in controlled clinical trials.'

thumbnail image: Free access to new paper on NMAs in clinical research

'But is the increased use and reliance of NMAs justified? Do such analyses provide a reliable basis for the relative effectiveness assessment of medicines and, in turn, for critical decisions relating to healthcare access and provisioning? And can such analyses also be used earlier, as part of the evidence base for licensure?

Despite several important publications highlighting inherently unverifiable assumptions underpinning NMAs, these assumptions and associated potential for serious bias are often overlooked in the reporting and interpretation of NMAs. A more cautious, and better informed, approach to the use and interpretation of NMAs in clinical research is warranted given the assumptions that sit behind such analyses.'

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