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REVIEW – “Pharmaceutical Statistics” (joint event with RSS Merseyside) on 26 Feb 2016

Reviewed by Laura Bonnett and Sarah Nolan, University of Liverpool.

On 26th February 2016, the RSS Merseyside local group, together with the RSS Young Statisticians’ Section (YSS), hosted an afternoon session on Pharmaceutical Statistics. This meeting marked a technological first for the RSS Merseyside local group, with the meeting broadcast as a live webinar via the RSS for people unable to attend in person. Twenty-five people in the room and eleven remote participants heard Sara Hughes from the Clinical Statistics section of GlaxoSmithKline begin the afternoon by discussing her company’s approach to data sharing, and the statistical challenges data sharing poses.  Sara initially outlined the data transparency journey GSK have taken over recent years reviewed the challenges with data sharing and made some preliminary recommendations for how to address these challenges.

Sarah Nolan from the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Liverpool and the Young Statisticians’ Section then discussed her perspective on data sharing, as a young statistician. Sarah discussed her experiences of four years of requesting data from multiple sources for a large project in epilepsy, the benefits that data sharing initiatives have had for her projects, and the challenges of restrictive data sharing platforms.

The afternoon ended with a panel discussion chaired by Gabriela Czanner (Chair of the RSS Merseyside Local Group); the two speakers were Catrin Tudur-Smith (Reader in Medical Statistics at the University of Liverpool). Ethical issues provoked the most responses from the panellists and the audiences as it is a very challenging aspect of data sharing which currently lacks a definite answer.

The meeting was received very well with those in person appreciating the views of academia and industry on the topic of data sharing, and particular appreciation for the combination of a young and experienced statistician. Despite some technical issues around microphones to allow a webinar broadcast; there is great benefit in making meeting available remotely to those who do not have the means to attend in person. We hope to learn from these experiences for future meetings to strike the perfect balance between attending and remote meeting participants.

Presentation Slides for the two talks are available here: