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News and Views
March 2002

From Clinical Trial to Prescription

Author Affiliations

From the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore. The author receives lecture and advisory fees from several pharmaceutical firms concerned with antipsychotic drugs and is principal investigator in a science collaboration with Novartis Pharma AG. He does not receive personal funds from Novartis and does not accept or purchase pharmaceutical industry stock.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(3):282-285. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.59.3.282

There are many steps between drug discovery and prescribing for a patient. Each step has problems. In this issue of ARCHIVES, Klein and colleagues propose changes in clinical trials that would result in more meaningful information for the treating physician. Of particular importance is the gap between what a physician needs to know and what is produced in the clinical trials that leads to approval of a new drug by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their recommendations for improving clinical trials are cogent, but broad-based implementation depends on an organizational structure and political effectiveness not presently in place. Most important, as the authors note, is an effective work group representing industry, regulatory agencies, and academic and federal science, addressing clinical trials issues with public participation. While improved quality and relevance of data from clinical trials will strengthen the scientific foundation of pharmacotherapy, other problems impede the delivery of objective information to the treating physician. Most hotly debated is the role of money in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

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