The objective of clinical trials is to test the effectiveness of medication, treatment and other diagnostic tools. Certainly, there is an element of risk in testing efficacy of medicine on individuals and things can go wrong. However, this is why clinical trials work in numerous phases. A drug is tested on a small group of people and as scientists and doctors learn more about the behaviour of the drugs, the sample size increases. Undoubtedly, clinical trials are important for the following reasons…
Curb the outbreak of a new virus
Had clinical trials begun during the occurrence of the Black Death, the number of casualties would have been fewer than the 1.5 million who lost their life. Scientists, after examining and assessing the behaviour of the virus under a microscope would have been able to develop a vaccination to administer. Unfortunately, the microscope did not appear until the late 1590’s and there was no access to the technology of today, but sheds light on what the value of clinical trials would have been. In modern times, we are more educated and privileged with technology and expertise that have the capacity to localise the outbreak of a disease and find a swift cure.
The development of modern medicine
From pain killers to anti-depressants, without clinical trials there would be no medicine. Clinical trials give doctors an opportunity to test and analyse the effect of potential medicine including its side effects and safe dosage range. Arguably, the reason why life expectancy and population has increased over the course of history and is predicted to continually increase in the future is due to the constant development of medicine in parallel. The development of medicine through clinical trials has saved many lives.
Trial and error leads to innovation
In any aspect of life, the concept of trial and error leads to innovation, the learning of new methods and techniques and breakthroughs in research. Clinical trials are similar to trying to learn something new. For example, it is very rare for a child to learn how to ride a bike without having fallen a few times and in life as a whole it is through mistakes, we become wiser. Clinical trials work in the same fashion. Scientists and doctors are not aware of what the results of their clinical trial is going to be (if they did, the concept of clinical trials would be redundant), therefore the trials and error approach is necessary to understand what works best. It is not possible for all medicine to be created by chance (penicillin), thus making clinical trials essential!
Participants are well protected
Participants in clinical trials have certain rights and obviously cannot be forced into taking part. Furthermore, there are various boards and administrators that are there to protect the safety of participants and clinical researchers themselves place a high priority on this. Read more regarding protection.
It is clear that clinical trials play a huge role in the development of medicine and contribute greatly to saving people’s lives and improving the quality of life.
DCC is an organisation that works with clinical researchers to ensure their clinical trials run smoothly. Our passion lies in taking away the pain of data management during trials to ensure researchers are fully focused in their respective subject area. Want to learn more? Read about our work with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, alternatively, please get in touch or book your free knowledge sharing consultation.
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