I’ve worked in the clinical trials industry for nearly two decades spanning large pharma, packaging, eClinical technologies, and here at a CRO. In that time, I have had the privilege of observing the awe-inspiring achievements my colleagues have made to improve the lives of individuals around the world, accomplishments that affect not only them but their loved ones. I can’t think of a better time than Clinical Trials Day to reflect on the history of our industry and to celebrate our achievements. Especially in 2020, as COVID-19 quakes the globe, it’s appropriate to take a moment and appreciate the life-giving therapies made possible through all the people supporting clinical trials. And let’s not forget to thank the many patients who have willingly offered their time–and their physical bodies–to be clinical trial participants. They are heroes in every sense.
Now, More Than Ever
In 2020, more than ever before, our industry is stepping up and proving its value and its mettle, as clinical research professionals seek treatments and vaccines that will neutralize the worldwide crisis wrought by SARS-CoV-2. In recent years, the processes, the rigor, and the cost of clinical trials have come under intense scrutiny. We’ve cringed as a small number of bad actors have made big headlines, calling into question the decades of regulatory refinements and conscientious work carried out by the industry as a whole.
COVID-19 has created an unmet medical need across the entire globe. The solution to the crisis lies in research and medicine, be that via cure, vaccine, or both. The effective solution can only be achieved through rigorous science carried out by medical and scientific professionals. The clinical trial industry–not only big pharma but also small biotechs and individual clinical research professionals, as well as regulators and study participants–have become the means by which this international crisis will be resolved. The eyes of the world are on us again; this time, we are a source of hope and an agent for positive change in the world.
An Agent for Change
Already it’s becoming clear that COVID-19 will be a means by which we raise the bar for creativity and perseverance in clinical research. Right now, the clinical trials industry is engaging in global coordination, collaboration, and partnership on an unprecedented scale. Regulatory agencies have been expediting timelines safely and ethically, as they take more collaborative roles in their engagement with sponsors and CROs. Even among competitor companies, there is increased openness in sharing of intelligence and best practices. The Future of Clinical Trials is a LinkedIn group that has been established to provide a safe space for clinical research professionals to discuss ways of moving forward through COVID-19 and beyond. We are using the space to solve problems, crowdsource ideas, consult with experts, and build networks that will drive the industry’s next generation. In the face of this pandemic, we are less about competition and more about community.
The urgency of this need is forcing us to find faster ways of moving safe and effective treatments through the pipeline from conception to widespread use. This also shines a light on the things that typically slow down the clinical trial process, forcing us to remove any unnecessary hurdles. In this time of social distancing, remote digital technologies that have been in place for a number of years–in some cases with limited uptake–are now proving imperative for safe operations; the built-in efficiencies of these technologies have become the added benefit. We are streamlining our processes, while continuing to safeguard the well-being of patients at all costs. As the world is dealing with these sudden changes, clinical research professionals are shifting on the fly to adapt to these new challenges.
We look forward to these newly gained efficiencies, once proven safe and effective for this extraordinary need, becoming commonplace for all indications in a post-COVID-19 world. Clinicians and investigators will become more adept at using remote and virtual technologies. Study participants will have a less burdensome trial experience. We can dare to hope that recruitment itself will be less challenging. For years, we have been wrestling with questions of shorter timelines and leaner budgets. This current crisis will become a truly defining moment in our history.
This Is Personal
Some days, clinical research can seem like a thankless profession, and a lot of the public doesn’t understand just how much time and money it takes to ensure new medicines are effective and safe. At Worldwide Clinical Trials, we take our business personally. We are driven by our mission to work with passion and purpose every day to improve lives, even when our work is not in the spotlight. Right now, I am seeing a Worldwide team on the rise in an industry that is stepping up to unprecedented challenges. I could not be prouder.
I joined this industry on purpose, and as I move through the world, chatting with Uber drivers or airplane seatmates, I am struck by the ways people react when I reveal my career. Whether the individual is managing their own diabetic condition or they are supporting a loved one who is fighting cancer, every single person is affected by the work that we do. I include myself in that number, as my father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, for which we are still working passionately to find a cure. This is what motivates me to keep pushing forward.
Today, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect and express gratitude for the achievements made by the many individuals in the clinical trial industry who are improving and extending life for all of us.
Partnering for Progress
In this time of uncertainty, you need a CRO you can depend on. When you partner with Worldwide Clinical Trials, you get the experience and excellence we’ve built over four decades. Whether you’re a large pharmaceutical or a small biotech, you get our full attention. Our team takes your success personally. Talk to an expert today.