Commenting on the Academy of Medical Sciences report ‘Enhancing the Use of Scientific Evidence to Judge the Potential Benefits and Harms of Medicines’, AMRC Chief Executive Aisling Burnand MBE said:
“This report is a really useful insight into modern day medical research. We know that maximising the relevance and impact of research is important to our members. It is vital when embracing new and different methods of data collection and evidence controls to ensure that, especially with the growing amounts of data the digital revolution allows us to gather, assessment of evidence continues to be robust and strengthens public confidence.
“Recent reports expressing concerns about selective publication of evidence making it untrustworthy are of great concern.
“We would like to reassure people that having good scientific evidence and data to underpin all research and eliminate bias about new drugs or treatments is a shared principle across our membership. There is however much to do – from tackling poor standards of publication, better training for researchers as well as calling out unscrupulous journals that seemingly publish poor work with little or no prior review. We can’t tackle this alone – everyone from funders, researchers, universities and publishers need to come together to confront this head on. AMRC members already do all they can to ensure the research they fund is robustly peer reviewed in a transparent, independent and impartial process which is a non-negotiable condition of their membership.
“It is good to see that the recommendations in this report place such emphasis on the need to involve patients, carers and the public in drug design where the experience of those affected by conditions gives them a unique perspective on the value of the treatments and potential compliance to them. We believe that patients should always be at the centre of decisions about research, and that when making funding decisions grant givers think patients first, but they should not be involved in a tokenistic way. To have the most impact those affected by conditions should be included where their perspective could make a difference to priorities and development. We are working closely with our members and with the ABPI to ensure that there are best practice standards for involvement across UK research.”