Validating comparisons of disease treatments in the absence of head-to-head trials
We believe that good consulting practice means identifying industry needs and seeking to address them. From our long experience in the field of psoriasis, we were aware that most clinical trials for new agents use placebo rather than other agents as the comparator. Thus, most comparisons of treatment efficacy have relied on network meta-analyses (NMAs). Our client and us therefore wondered: what if NMAs were not giving a reliable picture? We wanted to ensure that clinical and regulatory decisions would be based on solid evidence.
Our team systematically searched the literature for NMAs comparing at least two biologics to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis. We compared the quality, methodology and funding sources across 18 NMAs, and we focused on two clinical outcomes common across the studies. We found that all the NMAs came to similar conclusions despite differences in methodology and sources of funding.
Our work, which supported the validity of NMAs for treatment comparisons in moderate-to-severe psoriasis, led to a publication in a highly ranked journal and a presentation at a global conference. Our client, a company with strong pipeline in skin diseases, were able to use our findings immediately to support major short- and long-term R&D decisions. More broadly, our work has proven extremely relevant to researchers, clinicians and regulators in multiple therapeutic areas where head-to-head treatment comparisons are lacking. Thus, our publication has been accessed more than 1700 times since 2020.
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