Too much health and medical
research may be unnecessary, unethical, unscientific, and wasteful, warns a new
global network, 'Evidence-Based Research Network (EBRNetwork)' - initiated by a
group of Norwegian and Danish researchers.
Researchers, research funders, regulators, sponsors and publishers of research fail to use earlier research when preparing to start, fund or publish the results of new studies, EBRNetwork experts argue. They stress: To embark on research without systematically reviewing evidence of what is already known, particularly when the research involves people or animals, is unethical, unscientific, and wasteful.
At the 'Bergen meeting' partners agreed that the aim of the EBRNetwork is to reduce waste in research by promoting: No new studies without prior systematic review of existing evidence and efficient production, updating and dissemination of systematic reviews.
Dr Hans Lund shares another example of a "research waste": In a study performed in 2005 by Fergusson et al, looked at more than 60 trials done during 1987-2002 to test whether aprotinin could diminish bleeding during heart surgery or not. A cumulative meta-analysis clearly indicated that after the 12th study the results were clearly in favour of using aprotinin. However, following that 52 further studies were performed giving no new information or changing the conclusion that is also "research waste". In the case with aprotinin maybe more than 2000 patients had suffered side effects or even died because of unnecessary randomisation to placebo.
Indian researcher who is a member of EBRNetwork also reiterate the cause it addresses. Dr Soumyadeep Bhaumik, Executive Editor, Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care and an EBRNetwork member from India, said to Citizen News Service (CNS): "What the network aims to achieve would mean a tactical shift in the way medical research is conducted and funded globally. It is not that India does not have funds available for medical research but much of what is being funded may be getting wasted and is redundant in nature- and hence no real impact or breakthroughs. Most funding decisions have no objectivity into the way it is evaluated. If all funding decisions and researches are done taking into account methodologically-done and rigorous systematic reviews which determines the current status of knowledge, it would not only mean more efficient use of available resources but also translate into real-term health benefits."
The EBRNetwork now issues a call for interested individuals and organizations to join the EBRNetwork and work together in developing a consensus statement to address this challenge to the very heart and values of research. The EBRNetwork brings together initial partners from Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and USA, and was established in Bergen, Norway in December 2014.
Ref: Bobby Ramakant (CNS)