Drug Safety

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 849–857 | Cite as

Comparison of Data on Serious Adverse Events and Mortality in, Corresponding Journal Articles, and FDA Medical Reviews: Cross-Sectional Analysis

  • Richeek Pradhan
  • Sonal Singh
Short communication



Inconsistencies in data on serious adverse events (SAEs) and mortality in and corresponding journal articles pose a challenge to research transparency.


The objective of this study was to compare data on SAEs and mortality from clinical trials reported in and corresponding journal articles with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medical reviews.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of a randomly selected sample of new molecular entities approved during the study period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2015. We extracted data on SAEs and mortality from 15 pivotal trials from and corresponding journal articles (the two index resources), and FDA medical reviews (reference standard). We estimated the magnitude of deviations in rates of SAEs and mortality between the index resources and the reference standard.


We found deviations in rates of SAEs (30% in and 30% in corresponding journal articles) and mortality (72% in and 53% in corresponding journal articles) when compared with the reference standard. The intra-class correlation coefficient between the three resources was 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98–0.99) for SAE rates and 0.99 (95% CI 0.97–0.99) for mortality rates.


There are differences in data on rates of SAEs and mortality in randomized clinical trials in both and journal articles compared with FDA reviews. Further efforts should focus on decreasing existing discrepancies to enhance the transparency and reproducibility of data reporting in clinical trials.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this study.

Conflicts of interest

Richeek Pradhan and Sonal Singh have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this study.

Ethical standards

This research was conducted using publicly available data and did not entail any primary data collection from patients. No Independent Review Board approval was sought.

Supplementary material

40264_2018_666_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (122 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 122 kb)
40264_2018_666_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (62 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 62 kb)
40264_2018_666_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (79 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 78 kb)
40264_2018_666_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (149 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 149 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Quantitative Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Meyers Primary Care InstituteUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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