If you have any doubt about the impact of clinical research, think about this: in 1900, the average life expectancy for an American was about 47 years, but with new and improved drugs coming to market that help people live healthier lives, the average life expectancy is now 78 years!!! Medical advancements made possible by research have played a major role in:
- Lowering the cancer death rate by almost 22% since 1991 2,3
- Reducing the HIV/AIDS death rate by nearly 85% 4
- Offering hepatitis C patients cure rates near 90%, with few side effects, in as little as 8 weeks2,3
Every day, significant breakthroughs happen in the world of clinical research – and a critical part of that is due to study participants. People just like you.
Before a new drug or treatment is available to the public, it must first go through clinical studies to ensure that it is both safe and effective. This process takes time and, more importantly, relies on people like you to help. Around the world, people are living healthier and longer lives because of strangers who volunteer for clinical studies.
Read more about the drug development steps below:
Some research studies seek participants with illnesses or specific conditions, while others need healthy volunteers. All clinical studies have guidelines regarding who can participate. Requirements are based on factors such as age, medical history, medications being taken and ability to attend all visits. Before you join a clinical study, you must qualify for the study by meeting these requirements. These requirements are called inclusion and exclusion criteria and are defined in the study protocol and informed consent process. It is important to note that these criteria are not mean to reject people personally, but are used to identify appropriate participants and ensure safety. The criteria also help ensure that researchers are able to understand the data gathered in the study and answer questions about the drug or medical condition.
Clinical studies are a required step in bringing new and improved breakthroughs in medicine from the researcher to the patient. These studies evaluate the effectiveness of an experimental drug or treatment and how it effects people’s health and wellbeing. They ultimately allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine if the medicine is safe and effective, and should be made available to the public either through prescription or over the counter. These breakthroughs in medicine wouldn’t happen without the participation of volunteers like you!