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New on OpenPrescribing — our measures now have categories!

Update: You can view a short Youtube video demonstrating this feature here. On our OpenPrescribing CCG and practice dashboards you can now filter measures by category to view a small group of related measures together. You can select a category using the new dropdown menu above the measures… …Or by clicking on a category listed at the bottom of the description of a measure. Upon selecting a category you’ll see its description / rationale above the measures:

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Bad results from drug trials no longer have a place to hide

“If you’re a huge company trying to develop a new drug or treatment, the temptation to hide ‘bad’ results might be a strong one. Until now, you would be able to hide those results with few consequences.” In this Wired article, Abigail Beall, discusses the Alltrials campaign and the FDAAA TrialsTracker

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Unreported Trial of the Week: NCT01846221

With the launch of our FDAAA TrialsTracker, applicable trials that have failed to report their results on ClinicalTrials.gov are starting to appear. If you go here on our Tracker (the “All Trials” view, and toggle the “due” filter) you can see all the trials that have not yet reported. Non-reporting of clinical trial results in an ongoing, global public health issue. We are going to start highlighting some of these unreported trials in blog posts to shine a light on what information is being withheld from the public as a result of non-reporting.

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Making the FDAAA TrialsTracker even better than current ClinicalTrials.gov data

When you produce online tools from data, you often get useful feedback that helps you improve the outputs. (Send us feedback any time!). Additionally, when you use data, you learn about interesting glitches in it, some of which can be entirely undocumented. Here we share one example of helpful feedback, and how we used it to improve our tool. First some background. Trial reporting is a huge problem in medicine: the results of clinical trials are routinely withheld from doctors, researchers, and patients.

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Why is this trial due to report?

Now that we’ve launched our FDAAA TrialsTracker, we plan on occasionally taking a closer look at some of the trials that go unreported. Our first blog was about a trial examining 2 drug combinations for managing pain during labor (NCT01846221). So why do we think this specific trial is due to report? While we go through how we established our criteria and set up our database in detail in our preprint paper on Biorxiv, we wanted to walk you through exactly what fields matter on ClinicalTrials.

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Tool 'names and shames' hidden drug trials

“Institutions that fail to report the results of their drug and medical trials will be named on a new website.” In this BBC article, Chris Foxx, highlights the FDAAA TrialsTracker. Quoting DataLab Director, Ben Goldacre, “I’m not interested in naming and shaming people in order to criticise them. This project is being done to nudge institutions to prioritise trial reporting.”

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What is a Dormant GP practice, and why are they prescribing?

At OpenPrescribing, we provide tools for analysing prescribing behaviour in primary care in the NHS in England. If you work with prescribing data, you may have noticed that practices which are “dormant” apparently continue to prescribe. This short article explains why, for the curious. What is a Dormant practice? Our prescribing data comes from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), who are responsible for processing dispensing information supplied by pharmacies. Each line of the data includes a practice code which uniquely identifies the GP Practice that issued the prescription.

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Prescribing Data: Using the Dictionary of medicines and devices

Recently, we’ve been experimenting with integrating the Dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) into our prescribing data. dm+d is the standard dictionary for the medicines and devices used across the NHS, and it contains codes and descriptions for these medicines. There are several benefits to using dm+d; the most useful side-effect is to allow us to show user-friendly names for drugs. The canonical names for drugs in the NHS prescribing data are sometimes very hard to read.

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Prescribing Data: BNF Codes

OpenPrescribing takes open datasets from NHS Digital and NHS Business Services Authority, and makes it easy for people to explore the prescribing dataset. We also use this dataset in our research, and offer bespoke data extracts from the prescribing dataset for researchers, clinicians and NHS staff (get in touch!). In this series of blog posts we’ll explain key concepts and share our knowledge of the prescribing dataset. In the first blog, we take a look at BNF codes.

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TrialsTracker

This repository contains all the analysis and front-end code for http://trialstracker.ebmdatalab.net/ which is a simple application that tracks major trial sponsors with unreported trials on ClinicalTrials.gov.

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