Clinical drug trials: The strange world of human guinea pigs
Sometimes things go awry.
These days, the work of clinical testing is normally handled by private outfits called contract research organizations, or CROs. This is meant to keep the testing at arm's-length from the pharma companies that actually create the drugs. It also lets drug companies off the hook from the messy business of working with human test subjects.
When things so sideways in these trails, it can turn out really badly. - Host Geoff Turner
In most cases, phase 1 drugs have already been tested on animals. The animal phase helps scientists calculate appropriate doses for people.
The testing usually happens in a controlled setting — a clinic or hospital where the volunteers can be carefully monitored. The term for this work is pharmacovigilance, which basically means being on guard for adverse drug reactions or unintended effects.
For the vast majority of people who take part in trials, everything turns out fine in the end. But sometimes things go awry.
In this episode of On Drugs, we'll find out just how wrong testing new drugs can go.
- Host Geoff Turner tells about his own experience in a clinical trial
- Robert Helms gives us a glimpse into the life of a professional guinea pig