Bioequivalence trials are abbreviated clinical trials whereby a generic drug or new formulation is evaluated to determine if it is "equivalent" to a corresponding previously approved brand-name drug or formulation. In this manuscript, we survey the process of testing bioequivalence and advocate the likelihood paradigm for representing the resulting data as evidence. We emphasize the unique conflicts between hypothesis testing and confidence intervals in this area - which we believe are indicative of the existence of the systemic defects in the frequentist approach - that the likelihood paradigm avoids. We suggest the direct use of profile likelihoods for evaluating bioequivalence and examine the main properties of profile likelihoods and estimated likelihoods under simulation. This simulation study shows that profile likelihoods are a reasonable alternative to the (unknown) true likelihood for a range of parameters commensurate with bioequivalence research. Our study also shows that the standard methods in the current practice of bioequivalence trials offers only weak evidence from the evidential point of view.


Statistical Models