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May 1972

The Principles and Practice of Clinical Trials.

Arch Intern Med. 1972;129(5):839. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.00320050163028

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"This book," says the preface, "is aimed at students, new medical recruits to the pharmaceutical industry and clinicians involved in the assessment of drugs." This apt description makes record sales unlikely, for the target audience is not numerous.

The book has many pluses but also some minuses. Among the latter is the uneven quality and sometimes inappropriateness of various chapters. Often, multiple authorship results in contributors with differing concepts of the sophistication of their readers. An example is the potentially important chapter on "Statistical Considerations in the Design of Clinical Trials," in which the struggle for simplicity verges on overkill: the profuse illustrations include rows and agglomerations of dolls, melting ice cream cones, choo-choo trains, cartoons of sore toes, etc, accompanied for the most part by a rather parsimonious, though mildly humorous, text.

The first half of the book is devoted to general aspects of clinical trials, including design, sequential

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