Chances are very good that you or a loved one recently reached into your cabinet to take a medicine to treat a condition, prevent a disease or alleviate a symptom. But when was the last time you thought about how that medicine was made? Did you know that developing a new medicine can take at least ten years on average? A critical piece of this process is testing the investigational drug in human volunteers. A clinical trial is a study that is carefully designed to test the benefits and risks of a specific medical treatment or intervention, such as a new drug or a behavior change (e.g., diet).
However, clinical trials are about much more than a process, they are also about the people that conduct the research, including medical doctors and research teams. Most importantly, clinical trials depend on people who are willing to volunteer to participate. This week, May 4-8, 2015, PhRMA is participating in Clinical Trials Awareness Week. Clinical Trials Awareness Week is an ideal time to raise awareness about the importance of clinical trial participation and recognize the individuals who have made new, innovative treatments a reality for patients worldwide.
There are still many misperceptions about clinical trials, and we hope that Clinical Trials Awareness Week will provide an opportunity to learn the facts. To start, we encourage you to read about many of the most common myths (and what the facts really are!) in our myths/facts blog.
We’ll also be highlighting perspectives from clinical investigators, research nurses, patient advocacy organizations, and others on two key questions about clinical research, “What do you think the most important thing a potential clinical trial participant should know about clinical research when they are deciding whether to participate? and What does clinical research mean to you?” In addition, we’ll host a Twitter Chat on Thursday the 7th at 2 pm EDT with other patient groups about the importance of clinical trials. We invite you to participate by using #CTAW.
Through our Conversations forum, the first ever AWARE for All Event, Twitter Chat and other activities during Clinical Trials Awareness Week, our hope is that more people will feel comfortable talking with their health care providers about whether participating in a clinical trial might be the right choice for them.
We also ask everyone to take a moment to thank the thousands of volunteer participants that have contributed to the advancement of medical science. These unsung heroes are the reason those life-saving or life-enhancing medicines are in your cabinet.
Jocelyn Ulrich Jocelyn Ulrich, MPH, is Deputy Vice President, Policy and Research, at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). At PhRMA, she is responsible for developing legislative and policy analysis and research studies on a range of issues impacting innovative biopharmaceutical companies including intellectual property issues, FDA policy issues, the R&D process, the value of innovation, and other issue areas impacting the environment for innovation. In addition to her experience at PhRMA she has over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry at Pfizer, Human Genome Sciences, and EMD Serono in roles in clinical research management, investigator-initiated and collaborative research, and global policy and corporate affairs. Jocelyn holds an MPH in global health policy and management from New York University.