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Development and evaluation committees' methods for appraising new drugs

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 11 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:714

Committee failed to meet aims in producing report on low molecular weight heparins

  1. Nick Bosanquet, professor of health policy (,
  2. Keith Fox, professor of cardiology
  1. Health Policy Unit Division of Primary Care and Population Health Sciences, Imperial College School of Medicine, Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, London W2 1PG
  2. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  3. Vascular Surgery Department, Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford), Exeter EX2 5DW
  4. North and East Devon Health Authority, Barnstaple EX31 1RW
  5. Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX

    EDITOR—We agree with Freemantle and Mason's view that the methods used by development and evaluation committees may be inadequate for appraising new drugs.1 The InterDEC, a collaboration between Wessex and three other organisations, contends that none of the 100 reports produced so far has been significantly contradicted by later evidence.2 From personal experience we would beg to differ.

    In March 1999 the Wessex Development and Evaluation Committee published a report on the use of low molecular weight heparins compared with unfractionated heparins for use in unstable angina and non-Q wave myocardial infarction.3 The committee claims to use a thorough system of information search to ensure that any relevant information is taken into account when the reports are produced. Furthermore, its aim is to provide updates of reports within a short time when information becomes available that might alter the conclusion of the original report. In the above case it has failed to deliver on either of these counts. …

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