New treatments better than standard ones just over half the time

Medicalnewstoday:  8/29/13

USF Distinguished Professor Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD, PhD, has studied the ethics of randomized clinical trials and their effectiveness in evaluating the outcomes of new treatments for decades.

Now, in a paper published in the top journal Nature, Dr. Djulbegovic and colleagues report that on average new treatments work better than existing ones just over half the time. On scientific and ethical grounds, they say, the randomized controlled trial (RCT) system’s little more than 50-50 success rate over the past half century is evidence that the system is working as intended.

The researchers analyzed 860 phase III published and unpublished RCTs performed by academic institutions or pharmaceutical companies. These trials collectively involved more than 350,000 patients. Read more