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Society welcomes new report on "Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines"

Published: 20 Jun 2017 in Society news

The Society has welcomed a new report from the Academy of Medical Sciences on Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines.

The Society has contributed funding and member expertise to the report, particularly the "How can we all best use evidence?" workstream. 

Jonathan Brüün, Chief Executive of the British Pharmacological Society:

“While the UK is a world leader in medical research, and at a time when the NHS spends almost £17 billion on prescription medicines, it is striking that there is a confidence deficit among prescribers and patients about making sense of medical research findings. Transparent and accessible information about the scientific evidence for safety and efficacy of medicines should be a priority. On behalf of the British Pharmacological Society, I welcome this report, and look forward to the pharmacology and therapeutics community playing a key role in addressing the challenges that have been identified.”

Dr Emma Morrison, Chair, Specialty Registrar Advisory Group: 

"Patient engagement with shared decision-making is a cornerstone of effective healthcare. On behalf of the Society’s Speciality Training Registrar Committee, I strongly support The Academy of Medical Sciences’ recommendations to prevent confusion over medicines. Healthcare interventions are becoming increasing complex and consequently, the balance of benefit, risk and uncertainty for an individual has become more nuanced. This communication issue is currently poorly addressed; appropriate information is often clouded by the large volume of impenetrable material available and, in the absence of clarification, may lead to an individual’s under- or over- medication.
"I welcome this guidance refocussing the important role healthcare professionals have to play in communicating evidence. Research institutions, industry, media outlets and the NHS multidisciplinary team all have a crucial role to play to improve dialogue with the public. Strategies critical to improving standards range from; involving patients in research grant applications, through to NHS Choices spearheading a central repository of unbiased information and ‘goal-orientated medicine’ increasing time for discussion of issues important to the patient. Organisations and individuals already involved in evidence-based medicine (including clinical pharmacologists) will need to lead by example, develop best practice standards and drive the necessary changes to improve communication with patients. Clear, unbiased information must be signposted to inform decisions, translating to improved patient health and, ultimately, to benefit society."