Clinical trials are an important aspect of health research. They provide clinicians and the pharmaceutical industry with the opportunity to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new treatments. In addition, clinical trials can be used to study the health of populations and assess how effectively health services are organised.
Obviously studies involving humans are fraught with ethical and safety concerns. Clinical research is therefore highly regulated to provide maximum protection to trial participants. Many of the rules governing clinical trials are European or international in nature; this makes it easier for studies to be carried out across many countries.
However, there are concerns that the regulations have made clinical research too complicated and expensive to carry out. For example, some administrative requirements are extremely time consuming yet add little to participant safety.
More information is available on the Clinical Trials website.