Jun 16, 2010

US Clinical Trials: Vestige of an Innovative Era?

Few would dispute that doing business in the US, whether scientific or not, is becoming more difficult.  Clinical trials are no exception. 

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development recently reported that increased complexity of clinical trials, a demand from the FDA, is making trials more expensive and recruitment more difficult  (press release HERE). Apparently these challenges are having an (expected) effect.  

This week the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) released survey results demonstrating that fewer physicians are participating in trials here in the US, continuing a decade long trend. In a telling quote ACRO's Executive Director suggested that:

"physicians in Western Europe and the U.S. represent an important and underutilized resource to help develop new therapies and treatments."

With all of the training, intellectual capital, and resources the US and Western Europe have to offer, not to mention a track record of remarkable scientific achievements, this statement seems ludicrous. However, is highly consistent with our new focus on curbing relationships between physicians and industry and, more broadly, our shift towards a low-risk,high-regulation, low-innovation economy.

Will we recognize what we're wasting before it's gone?