2017: Transfer of evidence – Game without frontiers?

As a matter of course, health care decisions are based on the results of clinical trials. Such evidence is also required when patients are to be provided with fair and appropriate information about the advantages and disadvantages of interventions.

However, tailored data are far from being available for every decision or every target group. Information pertaining to children, very elderly patients or patients with certain accompanying diseases, for instance, is lacking for many interventions. Or the data are obtained from clinical studies conducted outside of our cultural area. To what extent can their results support informed decisions here in Germany?

Can we extrapolate evidence in these situations without leaving the secure foundation of evidence-based medicine? If so, which methods should we use? Can we not say that extrapolation is even a necessary component of every scientific evaluation? Does it, on the other hand, encourage arbitrariness and undermine the efforts of evidence-based medicine? Where are the boundaries of transferability and how can they be drawn?

These are the questions addressed in this year’s IQWiG Autumn Symposium, also for current legislative reasons: The added benefit of drugs for children no longer has to be demonstrated with separate studies when a drug has already been approved for adults.