and Drugs@FDA: A Comparison of Results Reporting for New Drug Approval Trials

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Pharmaceutical companies and other trial sponsors must submit certain trial results to The validity of these results is unclear.


To validate results posted on against publicly available U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews on Drugs@FDA.

Data Sources: (registry and results database) and Drugs@FDA (medical and statistical reviews).

Study Selection:

100 parallel-group, randomized trials for new drug approvals (January 2013 to July 2014) with results posted on (15 March 2015).

Data Extraction:

2 assessors extracted, and another verified, the trial design, primary and secondary outcomes, adverse events, and deaths.


Most trials were phase 3 (90%), double-blind (92%), and placebo-controlled (73%) and involved 32 drugs from 24 companies. Of 137 primary outcomes identified from, 134 (98%) had corresponding data at Drugs@FDA, 130 (95%) had concordant definitions, and 107 (78%) had concordant results. Most differences were nominal (that is, relative difference <10%). Primary outcome results in 14 trials could not be validated. Of 1927 secondary outcomes from, Drugs@FDA mentioned 1061 (55%) and included results data for 367 (19%). Of 96 trials with 1 or more serious adverse events in either source, 14 could be compared and 7 had discordant numbers of persons experiencing the adverse events. Of 62 trials with 1 or more deaths in either source, 25 could be compared and 17 were discordant.


Unknown generalizability to uncontrolled or crossover trial results.


Primary outcome definitions and results were largely concordant between and Drugs@FDA. Half the secondary outcomes, as well as serious events and deaths, could not be validated because Drugs@FDA includes only “key outcomes” for regulatory decision making and frequently includes only adverse event results aggregated across multiple trials.

Primary Funding Source:

National Library of Medicine.

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