Thursday, February 19, 2009

Outsourcing Clinical Drug Trials Plus Friday Fluff

Reader, gah. It is the end of a workweek, not even a full-length week, and I am crisp. I am very much looking forward to taking my hot cocoa into the tub with the fourth, last Twilight book and breathing through my mouth. But since I have your best procrastination at heart, I leave you with these blog nuggets.

The outsourcing trend has started to blossom big time with clinical drug trials. Since the only reason to outsource that I'm aware of is to save money (open to hearing other ideas), I'm naturally suspicious that this does not spell good news for inhabitants of these other countries. I take the point of this article, that there are currently no widespread ethical concerns with this practice but if history of how we do our business in developing countries is any indicator, something funky is happening, we just don't know it yet. And, as we know when the Heparin hit the fan here and in China, the FDA's global reach is virtually non-existent. I'm staying tuned on this one.

Moving to more weighty subjects, internet radio station Pandora really wants me to listen to Imogen Heap and Frou Frou. I happily oblige.

Here's Heap's trance-y Come Here Boy

Here's FrouFrou with Breathe In

Finally, this picture made me nearly ill from teh cuteness:

TGIF, reader.


Anonymous said...

Hey PC,

All I can add on the outsourcing of clinical trials is that I have heard (from reliable sources at work) that it is often difficult to recruit as many participants as are needed in the US due to the prevalence of trials, AND that one reason for conducting them outside the US is to increase diversity of people testing the drug, in case there is a differing effect based on ethnicity or other demographics that US populations don't offer. Also, since drugs often don't reach some of those countries, it is an opportunity for them to obtain access to something otherwise out of reach. I know that where I work we also outsource some trials because we don't have enough resources to do it all in house, and the contractors are supposed to be experts in their field, having finely honed the process of recruiting and following trial protocols. I have no idea how reliable that is, or if all of the above is merely a corporate rationalization for saving money, but that's the company story.

If we could just give everyone an evening cup of hot cocoa in the bathtub with a good book to read, I'm sure the world would be a better place ~ have a relaxing weekend, my friend!

One Urban Farmer

Professional Critic said...

Thanks, Urban Farmer. As always I appreciate your perspective. I had not considered the possibility that it was difficult to recruit for these studies. Perhaps erroneously, I always thought the opposite was true, that there was more demand than trial slots, but I am thinking now that it must depend on the illness and the drug in question. That would be worth looking into. The article did mention that these trials can offer medications to a population that wouldn't normally get them and that's hard to argue with. Although I suppose that this is the case with any drug trial, anywhere.
As to the demographics question, since these drugs are being tested for FDA approval in the US, I'm not sure if I buy that particular rationale unless it ties directly to the first issue of being unable to recruit people of x ethnicity for whatever reason. A really interesting topic to be sure. I look forward to learning more about it.