Prescrire conducts all of its own unbiased trials on drugs approved to be released on France's market. Here is a summary of the steps that Prescrire researchers undertake to determine drug safety, efficacy, and value:
(1) Prescrire researchers learn about the condition for which a particular drug had been developed.
(2) The previous drug prescribed to treat that condition (competitor product) is reviewed from the patient's perspective (i.e. efficacy, presence and frequency of adverse reactions, costs, convenience of medical treatments). If the previously used drug fails to meet Prescrire's "gold standard," the researchers continue to step 3.
(3) Prescrire researchers evaluate and conduct analyses of published and unpublished literature on the drug in question - all available data is reviewed to determine if the new drug marks improvement on the previous treatment. Prescrire researchers include consideration for publication bias in not only industry documents (such as safety reports, expert reports), but also peer-reviewed journal articles. These analyses are publicly accessible and available so that the French public is provided with transparent knowledge regarding Prescrire's research processes.
(4) The data collected is categorized (i.e. information on the condition to be treated, history of development of the active substance, clinical evaluation of efficacy and adverse reactions, pharmacologic and animal data, and convenience, price and reimbursement opportunities).
(5) The literature is synthesized and rated based on level of therapeutic advancement of the new drug, inherent value of benefits, risks, and convenience of the new drug, as well as its advantages and disadvantages compared to already existing products in France and Europe.
(6) Results of these analyses are communicated to professionals and the public by Prescrire in two forms: written and pictoral. Prescire uses the figure (to the right) to display its results.