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An analysis of redactions in Canadas Common Drug Review Clinical Review Reports and how they relate to the patients voice

11 Sep 2017


Canada’s Common Drug Review (CDR) evaluates drug data from published and unpublished research, as well as input from patient groups, to recommend provincial coverage. Currently, the CDR process gives manufacturers the opportunity to redact information in the final publicly available report. Patients often have strong feelings regarding the efficacy, harms, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and cost associated with the drugs under review and their redacted data. Highlighting Canada’s approach will hopefully build on the growing international concern regarding transparency of clinical study data.


The purpose was to objectively examine and classify completed, publicly available CDR-Clinical Review Reports (CRR) for redactions, and compare them to the patients’ reported interests as patient-centred outcomes.


Two independent reviewers searched for and examined publicly available CDR-CRR from November 2013-September 2016 through the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) on-line database. Both reviewers separately classified the redactions and patient-reported interests into the following categories: efficacy, harms, HRQL and costs. All discrepancies were rectified by consensus involving a third reviewer.


Fifty-two completed CDR-CRR were reviewed. 48 (92%) included patient-reported interests and 40 (77%) had redactions classified in the following categories: efficacy (75%), costs (48%), harms (38%), HRQL (23%). 89% of redactions were outcomes identified as patient-reported interests (69% efficacy, 42% harms, 36% cost, 33% HRQL). When examining drug characteristics, biological agents were statistically associated with increased odds of redactions with respect to either efficacy (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 11.6) or harms (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.02 to 12.4) compared with non-biological agents.


Whether data from the CDR-CRR used in the decision-making should be fully disclosed to the public is controversial. Our findings suggest clinical data (efficacy, harms, HRQL) matters to patients and should be publicly available within the CDR-CRR. Canada trails Europe and the USA regarding the transparency of clinical study data. This lack of transparency relates to the patient voice, and limits movement towards patient-centred care and patient-engaged research, restricting real-world value measurement.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open