MJA Insight comment

Cochrane review findings good news for clinical research

Reported in MJA Insight, CTC's Associate Professor Lisa Askie has commented on recent findings published in a Cochrane Review "New treatments compared to established treatments in randomised trials".

Excerpt below taken from the MJA Insight article.

Associate Professor Lisa Askie, who leads the systematic reviews and health technology assessment team at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, said the Cochrane review's findings were good news for clinical research.

 "We know that if we didn't do the randomised trials, we would have introduced many of these treatments into practice believing that they were better, only to find out later that about half of them were not better", Professor Askie told MJA InSight. "That would be a hugely wasteful way to find out what works and what doesn't work."

 She said the findings also showed that the right treatments were being tested in RCTs.

 "We do really need to have uncertainty", Professor Askie said. "We often have some preliminary evidence that one [treatment] might work better than the other, but if we are genuinely uncertain that it actually does we have to use a randomised controlled trial design to test the treatments fairly - to get the truth."

 There was also a message in the findings for research funders and health policymakers, she said. "If we just use quite a small percentage of the current health budget … to fairly test treatments in trials, we can actually save millions in the long run."

Read the full article in MJA Insight here.