Peter Doshi is an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research in the School of Pharmacy and associate editor at The BMJ. His research focuses on policies related to drug safety and effectiveness evaluation in the context of regulation, evidence-based medicine, and debates over access to data. Doshi also has strong interests in journalism as a vehicle for encouraging better practice and improving the research enterprise.

Recent Submissions

  • Patient consent to publication and data sharing in industry and NIH-funded clinical trials

    Spence, O'Mareen; Uba, Richie Onwuchekwa; Shin, Seongbin; Doshi, Peter (BioMed Central Ltd., 2018)
    Background: Participants are recruited into clinical trials under the assumption that the research will contribute to medical knowledge. Therefore, non-publication trials-and, more recently, lack of data sharing-are widely considered to violate the trust of trial participants. Existing practices regarding patient consent to publication and data sharing have not been evaluated. Analyzing informed consent forms (ICFs), we studied what trial participants were told regarding investigators' intention to contribute to medical knowledge, publish trial results, and share de-identified trial data. Methods: We obtained 98 ICFs of industry-funded pre-marketing trials for all (17) antibiotics approved by the European Medicines Agency and 46 ICFs of publicly funded trials from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC) data repository. Three authors independently reviewed ICFs to identify and extract what was stated or implied regarding: (1) publication of results; (2) sharing de-identified data; (3) data ownership; (4) confidentiality of identifiable data; and (5) whether the trial will produce knowledge that offers public benefit. Consensus was obtained from the two reviewers with the greatest overall agreement on all five measures. Disagreements were resolved through discussion among all authors. Results: Four (3%) trials indicated a commitment to publish trial results; 140 (97%) did not commit to publishing trial results; six (4%) indicated a commitment to share de-identified data with third party researchers. Commitments to share were more common in publicly funded trials than industry-funded trials (7% vs 3%). A total of 103 (72%) ICFs indicated the trials will or may produce knowledge that offers public benefits, while 131 (91%) ICFs left unstated who "owned" trial data; of those with statements, the sponsor always claimed ownership. Patient confidentiality was guaranteed in 137 (95%) trials. Conclusions: Our results suggest that consent forms rarely disclose investigators' intentions regarding the sharing of de-identified data or publication of trial results. Copyright 2018 The Author(s).
  • The possible harms of statins: What do product labels, patient package inserts, and pharmacy leaflets tell us?

    Doshi, Peter; Sieluk, Jan; Hung, Anna (American Pharmacists Association, 2019)
    Objectives: To evaluate the degree to which health care professionals and patients receive consistent messages regarding the possible harms of statins. Design: Cross-sectional study of prescribing information (PI), patient package inserts (PPIs), and pharmacy leaflets for 8 statins approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration. Setting: Not applicable. Participants: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: All passages describing 7 adverse events (diarrhea, arthralgia, dyspepsia, confusion, memory loss, rhabdomyolysis, and kidney failure) were extracted from PIs, PPIs, and pharmacy leaflets. For each type of information source and adverse event (drug-harm pair), 2 reviewers independently judged passages as indicating either a confirmed, unconfirmed, or mixed causal relationship between statin and adverse event (drug-harm pair). Disagreements were resolved through consensus, and the consistency between information sources was calculated. Results: PI and PPI consistently conveyed the relationship between a given statin and given adverse event (either both “confirmed” or both “unconfirmed”) in 12 of 17 evaluable drug-harm pairs. PPIs and pharmacy leaflets were consistent in 10 of 10 evaluable drug-harm pairs. PIs indicated a confirmed, causal relationship in 15 drug-harm pairs that were not mentioned in pharmacy leaflets. Likewise, PPIs indicated a confirmed, causal relationship in 7 drug-harm pairs that were not listed in pharmacy leaflets. Conclusion: Despite the widespread use of statins, we discovered considerable ambiguity in language used to describe the evidence concerning their possible harms and variable consistency between PIs, PPIs, and pharmacy leaflets. Further study is needed to understand the reason why pharmacy leaflets did not list, in 15 cases, adverse events that PIs indicated were causally related to the statin.
  • When to include clinical study reports and regulatory documents in systematic reviews

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-10-11)
    Reporting bias is a major threat to the validity and credibility of systematic reviews. This article outlines the rationale for accessing clinical study reports and other regulatory documents (regulatory data) as a means of addressing reporting bias and identifies factors that may help decide whether (or not) to include regulatory data in systematic reviews. The article also describes the origins and current state of regulatory data access and summarises a survey of current systematic reviewers' practices in considering regulatory data for inclusion in systematic reviews. How to access and extract regulatory data is not addressed. Organisations and other stakeholders such as Cochrane should encourage the use of data from clinical study reports as an important source of data in reviews of pharmaceutical interventions particularly when the intervention in question is of high importance and the risk of reporting bias is great.
  • Pandemrix vaccine: why was the public not told of early warning signs?

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-09-20)
    Eight years after the pandemic influenza outbreak, a lawsuit alleging that GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine caused narcolepsy has unearthed internal reports suggesting problems with the vaccine’s safety. Peter Doshi asks what this means for the future of transparency during public health emergencies.
  • The use of clinical study reports to enhance the quality of systematic reviews: a survey of systematic review authors

    Hodkinson, Alex; Dietz, Kristina Charlotte; Lefebvre, Carol; Golder, Su; Jones, Mark A., B.Sc., Ph.D.; Doshi, Peter; Heneghan, Carl; Jefferson, Tom; Boutron, Isabelle; Stewart, Lesley (London: BioMed Central, 2018-08-08)
    Background: Clinical study reports (CSRs) are produced for marketing authorisation applications. They often contain considerably more information about, and data from, clinical trials than corresponding journal publications. Use of data from CSRs might help circumvent reporting bias, but many researchers appear to be unaware of their existence or potential value. Our survey aimed to gain insight into the level of familiarity, understanding and use of CSRs, and to raise awareness of their potential within the systematic review community. We also aimed to explore the potential barriers faced when obtaining and using CSRs in systematic reviews. Methods: Online survey of systematic reviewers who (i) had requested or used CSRs, (ii) had considered but not used CSRs and (iii) had not considered using CSRs was conducted. Cochrane reviewers were contacted twice via the Cochrane monthly digest. Non-Cochrane reviewers were reached via journal and other website postings. Results: One hundred sixty respondents answered an open invitation and completed the questionnaire; 20/160 (13%) had previously requested or used CSRs and other regulatory documents, 7/160 (4%) had considered but not used CSRs and 133/160 (83%) had never considered this data source. Survey respondents mainly sought data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and/or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Motivation for using CSRs stemmed mainly from concerns about reporting bias 11/20 (55%), specifically outcome reporting bias 11/20 (55%) and publication bias 5/20 (25%). The barriers to using CSRs noted by all types of respondents included current limited access to these documents (43 respondents), the time and resources needed to obtain and include these data in evidence syntheses (n = 25) and lack of guidance about how to use these sources in systematic reviews (n = 26). Conclusions: Most respondents (irrespective of whether they had previously used them) agreed that access to CSRs is important, and suggest that further guidance on how to use and include these data would help to promote their use in future systematic reviews. Most respondents who received CSRs considered them to be valuable in their systematic review and/or meta-analysis.
  • Restoring biomedical literature with RIAT

    Doshi, Peter; Shamseer, Larissa; Jones, Mark A., B.Sc., Ph.D.; Jefferson, Tom (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-04-26)
  • Patient consent to publication and data sharing in industry and NIH-funded clinical trials

    Spence, O’Mareen; Uba, Richie Onwuchekwa; Shin, Seongbin; Doshi, Peter (London: BioMed Central, 2018-05-03)
  • EMA recommendation on hydroxyethyl starch solutions obscured controversy

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-03-20)
    As the EMA’s recommendation to suspend HES solutions from the market heads to the European Commission for a final decision, scientists who were asked to provide independent advice say that they were completely ignored
  • FDA to begin releasing clinical study reports in pilot programme

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-01-23)
  • Noninferiority Trials [letter to the editor]

    Doshi, Peter (Boston : Massachusetts Medical Society, 2018-01-18)
  • Informed Consent to Study Purpose in Randomized Clinical Trials of Antibiotics, 1991 Through 2011

    Doshi, Peter (American Medical Association, 2017-08-21)
    IMPORTANCE: Potential research participants may assume that randomized trials comparing new interventions with older interventions always hypothesize greater efficacy for the new intervention, as in superiority trials. However, antibiotic trials frequently use "noninferiority" hypotheses allowing a degree of inferior efficacy deemed "clinically acceptable" compared with an older effective drug, in exchange for nonefficacy benefits (eg, decreased adverse effects). Considering these different benefit-harm trade-offs, proper informed consent necessitates supplying different information on the purposes of superiority and noninferiority trials. OBJECTIVE: To determine the degree to which the study purpose is explained to potential participants in randomized clinical trials of antibiotics and the degree to which study protocols justify their selection of noninferiority hypotheses and amount of "clinically acceptable" inferiority. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional analysis of study protocols, statistical analysis plans (SAPs), and informed consent forms (ICFs) from clinical study reports submitted to the European Medicines Agency. The ICFs were read by both methodologists and patient investigators. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Protocols and SAPs were used as the reference standard to determine prespecified primary hypothesis and record rationale for selection of noninferiority hypotheses and noninferiority margins. This information was cross-referenced against ICFs to determine whether ICFs explained the study purpose. RESULTS: We obtained trial documents from 78 randomized trials with prespecified efficacy hypotheses (6 superiority, 72 noninferiority) for 17 antibiotics conducted between 1991 and 2011 that enrolled 39 407 patients. Fifty were included in the ICF analysis. All ICFs contained sections describing study purpose; however, none consistently conveyed study hypothesis to both methodologists and patient investigators. Methodologists found that 1 of 50 conveyed a study purpose. Patient investigators found that 11 of 50 conveyed a study purpose, 7 accurately and 4 inaccurately compared with the reference standard. Seventy-one of 72 noninferiority trial protocols or SAPs provided no rationale for selection of noninferiority hypothesis. None provided a clinical rationale for the chosen amount of decreased efficacy. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Patients were not accurately informed of study purpose, which raises questions regarding the ethics of informed consent in antibiotic trials. Noninferiority and superiority trials entail different benefit-harm trade-offs that must be conveyed for ethical informed consent.
  • Cherry-picking by trialists and meta-analysts can drive conclusions about intervention efficacy

    Doshi, Peter (Elsevier, 2017-08-22)
    Objective: To determine whether disagreements among multiple data sources affect systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Study Design and Setting: Eligible RCTs examined gabapentin for neuropathic pain and quetiapine for bipolar depression, reported in public (e.g., journal articles) and non-public sources (clinical study reports [CSRs] and individual participant data [IPD]). Results: We found 21 gabapentin RCTs (74 reports, six IPD) and seven quetiapine RCTs (50 reports, one IPD); most were reported in journal articles (18/21 [86%] and 6/7 [86%], respectively). When available, CSRs contained the most trial design and risk of bias information. CSRs and IPD contained the most results. For the outcome domains “pain intensity” (gabapentin) and “depression” (quetiapine), we found single trials with 68 and 98 different meta-analyzable results, respectively; by purposefully selecting one meta-analyzable result for each RCT, we could change the overall result for pain intensity from effective (standardized mean difference [SMD]=-0.45; 95%CI -0.63 to -0.27) to ineffective (SMD=-0.06; 95%CI -0.24 to 0.12). We could change the effect for depression from a medium effect (SMD=-0.55; 95%CI -0.85 to -0.25) to a small effect (SMD=-0.26; 95%CI -0.41 to -0.1). Conclusions: Disagreements across data sources affect the effect size, statistical significance, and interpretation of trials and meta-analyses.

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