Decisions made during the pharmaceutical R&D process involve many risks and uncertainties, and substantial literature has been developed on human biases and their impact on decision making. But that literature has largely focused on individual biases rather than on the prevalence and roles biases can have in an organizational setting such as drug research and development.

In this article ($) in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, authors Hubert Truebel of the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany and Mark Seidler of Strategic Decisions Group discuss the findings of their survey of senior decision makers across the pharmaceutical sector to understand relevant biases and potential countermeasures. Their results have implications for further improving decision quality in pharmaceutical R&D, beginning with an awareness of biases and mitigation measures. Further, the authors write, addressing biases is not only a personal leadership skill but also the responsibility of top leadership to drive rigorous debiasing efforts in the context of organizational decision culture. And finally, the industry could benefit from more tools to mitigate biases.

This article was first published September 27, 2022, in the online edition of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. It is available at no charge to institutional subscribers. Others can register on the website to obtain complimentary access.