The large size and population of Texas has made it prime real estate for the medical field to conduct clinical trials for new drugs and treatments. At any given time, there are so many different trials going on throughout central Texas that it is difficult to find patients willing to sign up for the experimental treatments.
Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio all have hundreds of trials going on at any given time. They treat everything from cancer to asthma to depression, with new trials becoming available all the time. Part of the allure for drug companies and those attempting to determine the effects of emerging treatments is Texas’ large biodiversity. Texas is one of the most culturally diverse states in the union, with people from a variety of backgrounds and ethnic populations available for tests in a relatively narrow geographic area.
Are Clinical Trials Safe?
Most people that suffer from minor conditions – those that are not life-threatening – often do not take the time to seek out clinical trials. They are less willing to take part in something experimental with the fear that their condition will worsen. They are often happy to live with an irritation rather than become a “guinea pig” to be treated like a lab animal by doctors.
The truth is that is not what clinical trials are about. They are highly regulated and extremely safe. Patients are given all the information about the trial up front, so there are no surprises along the way. Monitoring of patients is no more invasive than a typical doctor’s visit and if the trial patient feels uncomfortable, they are free to leave the trial at any time.
Are Clinical Trial Patients Paid?
In addition to clinical trials being very gentle and non-invasive, they also typically include some kind of monetary remuneration. Either patients are paid for their time and travel expenses, or they are given additional free healthcare, which is very attractive to those that do not have health insurance.
The unfounded fear about clinical trials has kept many people from receiving help for their conditions, as well as slowed the process of effective drugs and treatments being released to the general public.
“It’s just a natural thing for patients to say no,” said Richard Beswick, senior vice president for research at Scott & White Healthcare. “They are afraid they are going to be a guinea pig. Or they start asking: ‘Am I going to die? Is this more serious than I thought and that’s why they want me to be part of it?’
“You’ve just got to get past those things and explain (the potential benefits) to patients.”
Will my condition actually be treated?
Another major concern with patients were that they would be given a placebo which would do nothing to treat their condition. Researchers involved with clinical trials assured them that they would not be given a sugar pill, and that control groups were already established, so the clinical trial would only involve patients that were actively being treated.
If you live in the Texas area, it would be wise to do some research about clinical trials in your area. It could be a persistent cough, mood or sleep disturbances, or many of the other minor conditions that could have ongoing trials in need of participants that would greatly improve your quality of life.