The Academy of Medical Sciences believes that scientific evidence should be at the heart of decisions about the use of medicines, as it is open to check and challenge. However, it’s recent report found that while about two-thirds of the public trust the experiences of friends and family, only about one-third of the public trust medical evidence.
Further, about two in three British adults and four in five doctors believe that clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry are often biased to produce a positive outcome.
To enhance the use of scientific evidence in decisions about medicines, the report calls for improvements to:
- The generation of scientific evidence to ensure it is robust, reliable and relevant to patients.
- The trustworthiness of scientific evidence so that information is disclosed in an accessible, assessable, and usable manner.
- The communication of evidence to ensure it is presented in a clear, accurate and actionable way.
Making progress on these fronts will require a collective effort from a wide range of stakeholders across the biomedical community. We hope that this report will galvanise the changes required to help us all make more informed decisions about treatments and reduce future confusion over the potential benefits and harms of medicines.
Visit the Academy’s dedicated website ‘How can we all best use scientific evidence?’