Glimpsing a World Without Clinical Trials

While you’re at the pharmacy picking up a medication you’ve been prescribed, you might not be thinking about all of the research that went into making that treatment available to you. On average, it takes at least ten years for a new medicine to make it to market, and six to seven of those years involve clinical trials. It’s important to understand all that goes into developing drugs, so that you can understand what a critical role patients play in the drug development process.

Currently, more than 58 million patients are needed to fulfill demand among all enrolling studies on clinical trials.gov. That’s about one in every six US citizens. The need is massive, which might be why 80% of clinical trials are delayed or closed due to difficulty finding patients to take part in trials.

Our friends at CISCRP (in conjunction with Sanofi and Langland) have created a powerful PSA demonstrating what might happen if clinical trials are not able to move forward — if patients don’t participate and that 80% becomes 100%. The video is set in a pharmacy, and, spoiler alert: without clinical trials, the pharmacy is empty.

In CISCRP’s “MT Pharmacy,” people come in and have a realization: “without clinical trials, we wouldn’t have any of the medications that we take every single day.” People visiting the MT Pharmacy write on empty boxes their wishes for treatments and cures for illnesses that have been affecting their loved ones — and these boxes represent the hope that clinical trials bring in advancing medical progress.

People choose to take part in research studies for many reasons. Trials often offer otherwise unavailable access to the latest treatments in development, and the care received through clinical trials often feels more personalized and attentive than traditional care, at no cost. Many trials will even compensate participants for time and travel. In addition, participants report that they feel like they are making a difference by contributing to research in their condition, potentially improving the lives of patients in the future.

Of course, there are several reasons that would-be participants might be concerned about taking part. There is potential for side effects, or that the drug won’t work as expected. It’s important to remember, however, that in the later phases of clinical trials, the drug has usually been carefully studied in smaller populations for safety and effectiveness. And when you’re considering taking part and weighing the pros and cons of clinical trial participation, it might be useful to remember the empty pharmacy.

Are you interested in helping to find the next treatment for your condition? Find a trial today: