Academy launches new project on Evaluating evidence

The Academy has initiated a working group project on ‘Evaluating evidence’ which will explore how evidence that originates from different sources (e.g. randomised clinical trials and observational data) are used to make decisions about the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical interventions.

The high profile media debates on how society should judge the safety and efficacy of drugs such as Statins have caused concern among our Fellows. This was discussed by our Council and was also the subject of a letter from the Chief Medical Officer to the President. Council agreed that an Academy project exploring how we evaluate different sources of evidence would make a useful contribution to the debate

The working group will be Chaired by Sir Michael Rutter FRS FBA FMedSci, former Vice President of the Academy and Professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.

The project will use statins as the main case study, but may consider other examples such as infectious diseases such as Ebola and rare cancers.

The first stage of the ‘Evaluating Evidence’ project, will be small meetings on 17 June to discuss its scope and to identify key questions that the project will aim to address. These scoping meetings will involve key stakeholders to discuss what the Academy could most usefully do, look at timing, scope, and desired outcomes, and will give the Academy a mandate with which to move forward.

The meeting will involve Academy Fellows, and representatives from research funders, medical Royal Colleges, regulators, learned societies and academic institutions. We will be expanding this group to take input and evidence from other organisations and individuals as the project progresses.

A contribution towards the costs of this project has been committed by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

More information about the project, including some frequently asked questions, are available on our project page.

If you would like to contribute to the project please contact policy@acmedsci.ac.uk.

 

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