Quantitative Benefit–Risk Assessment: State of the Practice Within Industry

Meredith Y. Smith*, Janine van Til, Rachael L. DiSantostefano, A. Brett Hauber, Kevin Marsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Benefit–risk assessments for medicinal products and devices have advanced significantly over the past decade. The purpose of this study was to characterize the extent to which the life sciences industry is utilizing quantitative benefit–risk assessment (qBRA) methods. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of industry professionals working in drug and/or medical device benefit–risk assessments (n = 20). Questions focused on the use, timing, and impact of qBRA; implementation challenges; and future plans. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for thematic analysis. Results: While most surveyed companies had applied qBRA, application was limited to a small number of assets—primarily to support internal decision-making and regulatory submissions. Positive impacts associated with use included improved team decision-making and communication. Multi-criteria decision analysis and discrete choice experiment were the most frequently utilized qBRA methods. A key challenge of qBRA use was the lack of clarity regarding its value proposition. Championing by senior company leadership and receptivity of regulators to such analyses were cited as important catalysts for successful adoption of qBRA. Investment in qBRA methods, via capability building and pilot studies, was also under way in some instances. Conclusion: qBRA application within this sample of life sciences companies was widespread, but concentrated in a small fraction of assets. Its use was primarily for internal decision-making or regulatory submissions. While some companies had plans to build further capacity in this area, others were waiting for further regulatory guidance before doing so.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
JournalTherapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Benefit–risk framework
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Medical devices
  • Medicinal products
  • Multi-criteria decision analysis
  • Structured benefit–risk assessment


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