Equivalence Testing

Frequently, the objective of an investigation is not to determine if a drug or treatment is superior to another but just equivalent. For instance, it is often of interest to investigate if a new drug, with say fewer side effects or lower price, is as efficacious as the one currently used. This situation occurs when new or generic drugs are evaluated for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In standard hypotheses testing, equivalence (i.e., equality) is the null hypothesis, and the alternative is the nonequivalence hypothesis. One problem with using this procedure, and determining equivalence when the null is not rejected, is that the test is designed to reject the null hypothesis only if the evidence against it is strong (e.g., p < .05). ...

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