Wasted resources in healthcare and research

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Failure to do systematic reviews of relevant, reliable research evidence does harm even when it is not harming patients and people participating in research. This is because it can result in resources being wasted in healthcare and health research.

During the 1980s and 1990s, for example, a total of more than 8,000 patients participated in several tests of a proposed new drug for stroke. Dutch researchers reviewed the results of these drug studies systematically, and were unable to find any beneficial effects. [17] They then decided to review the results of tests of the drug done previously in animals; again, they were unable to find any beneficial effects. [18]

Had the researchers who did the tests in animals and the clinical researchers reviewed the results of the animal studies systematically, as they had emerged, it is very likely that thousands of patients would not have been invited to participate in the clinical trials. Indeed, this might have resulted in better use of resources for treating patients experiencing stroke, and studies that were more likely to be relevant to identifying improvements in treatments for the condition. And this is far from an isolated example. [19]

  • Ichalmers

    Remove link from ‘…were unable to find any beneficial effects.’

    • Douglas_Badenoch

      Done