Effective collaboration between medical writers and biostatisticians

Effective collaboration between medical writers and biostatisticians

The EMWA’s Medical Writing journal published an article «Best friends forever: A pattern of collaboration between medical writers and biostatisticians within the Russian CRO» authored by Ivan Dobromyslov (Data MATRIX) and Eugenia Radkova (ОСТ). This article covers the collaboration between medical writers in clinical trials.

The current medical writing standards require both broad-based statistical knowledge and close partnership between medical writers and biostatisticians. This point becomes significant in a CRO environment.

An abstract of the article can be found below. A full version of the article is available here. The world is undergoing a boom in clinical trials, with annual increases between 1% and 14. Considering that the average annual growth in recent years has been 4-5%, the number of approved clinical trials may reach 30,000 by 2020.

The Russian Federation is an attractive and fast-growing market for pharmaceutical products. The number of approved clinical trials could increase by 20% by 2020 to reach 1,000. The Russian government continues to invest in pharmaceutical manufacturing and drug development, with implementation of many economic measures and programmes in the last few years.

A main reason for this rapid growth in clinical trials in Russia is the 2010 Federal Law on Drug Circulation. This law imposed new regulatory requirements on the clinical trials industry and stipulated that well-controlled, evidence-based confirmative clinical trials must be performed as part of the drug registration process in Russia. This law applied to most drug categories and included products that had already been investigated and registered in other countries. The result has been a considerable increase of so-called ‘local registrational’ phase III studies.

These now represent approximately two-thirds of all clinical trials carried out in Russia. These new regulations resulted in a rapid increase in demand for regulatory and trial related documents and therefore the development of the medical writing industry in Russia.3 At the same time, pharmaceutical companies have lacked experience in planning and conducting clinical trials, have not been able to liaise with and obtain scientific advice from regulatory authorities, have not had enough personnel knowledgeable about study design and methodology.

Medical writers in Russia therefore need to be able to provide not only writing but scientific advice on drug development and regulatory affairs as well as different aspects of study design and methodology. This means that medical writers must have a good understanding of basic biostatistics and statistical methodologies applied to clinical trials. This demand for high-level knowledge of biostatistics means that medical writers need to work in close collaboration with biostatisticians, especially within the contract research organisations (CROs). In this article, we describe the collaborative work between medical writers and biostatisticians within Russian CROs and give a brief overview of local regulatory environment in which these specialists operate.

Source article is available at: Medical Writing, Volume 25, Number 3 (Statistics). P. 46-49.