How can we all best use evidence?

The Academy of Medical Sciences is undertaking a project to examine how we can all best use evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. 

Report Drafting

The report of this Oversight Group is currently being drafted and is expected to launch in early 2017. Evidence that has contributed to this workstream including workshop reports from the sub projects are available in the  evidence repository for this project

Over the past few years, questions have been raised in both the general and scientific media about the evidence underlying decisions about treatment options (for example the use of statins and Tamiflu). The validity of the different ways of collecting and analysing evidence has been part of this debate. At the same time, broader discussion of issues such as overmedicalisation (or the reliance on prescribing drugs over lifestyle changes) and conflicts of interest in the way that evidence collection is funded and/or analysed has led to wider questions surrounding trust in academic researchers, clinicians, the media and the pharmaceutical industry .

To explore these issues further, the Academy of Medical Sciences is undertaking a project to examine how we can all best use evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. The workstream is chaired by Professor Sir John Tooke FMedSci, and led by an oversight group that will steer the overall direction of the project. Please visit our ‘Oversight group’ tab for further details. The group is expected to publish a report of its findings in early 2017.

The project will consider elements relating to:

  • The strengths and limitations of different sources of evidence used to evaluate the risks and benefits of medicines. For more information, please visit our policy project page dedicated to this topic. 
  • The ways in which conflicts of interest impact on the validity (or perception of validity) of evidence. For more information, please visit our policy project page on this topic. 
  • The communication of evidence to support discussion and decision-making. For more information, please visit our policy project page on this topic.
  • The perceptions and perspectives of society on scientific evidence (including in the context of shared decision making between patients and their clinicians). For more information, please visit our policy project page on this topic. 

The workstream will not seek to replicate the work performed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. The remit of this project requires expertise from outside of the Academy, and we will therefore engage widely via a call for evidence, workshops, and further dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders including patients, citizens and healthcare professionals. The full terms of reference and details of the call for evidence are listed under separate tabs.

We have collated the evidence we have received to date in a repository on our website so that it can be viewed and accessed by anyone who is interested in this topic. The repository will be continually updated as the project progresses.

This is an independent project that has the support of the Chief Medical Officer. Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation (through a Strategic Funding Award), the British Pharmacological Society, the British Society for Immunology, the Medical Research Council, the Naji Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme have kindly provided financial contributions towards this work.

 www.arthritisresearchuk.org

    www.bhf.org.uk

  www.bps.ac.uk

 www.immunology.org

  www.mrc.ac.uk

 najifoundation.org

   www.nihr.ac.uk

Staff leads


Mentoring masterclass, Manchester (April)

Book Now

New frontiers in the research landscape - Bristol

Book Now

Accelerating access to medical innovation

Book Now
View more