Old man SAS remains among the leading software packages for the statistical analysis of clinical trial data being submitted to the FDA. It debuted in 1976 for use on mainframe computers, writes Ian Johnson of analytics and statistics consultancy, Alpha Analysis.
Because SAS doubles as a programming language, he says, users can write macros for some custom data steps and procedures.
R and SPSS are two other packages that rate high in his book. R is a free, open-source language for writing custom statistical programs. Johnson says it has a steep learning curve but is among the most powerful of such packages, and is customizable.
SPSS is graphical user interface-based software. Its strength is in running quick analyses. SPSS comes in an open-source version called PSPP.
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