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Analysis and Comment (25)

What if an experimental treatment seems to hold a terminal patient’s only hope? Pill bottle image via www.shutterstock.com

‘Right to try’ laws are compassionate, but misguided

On November 4, the state of Arizona will decide whether to join Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan in passing so-called right to try laws. If passed, the “Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right To Try…
The idea of research reducing health-care costs may seem counter intuitive because it often leads to the development of expensive drugs, technologies, and treatments. EPA/ANGELIKA WARMUTH

With the right kind of research, we can reduce health-care costs

Quality health care can be expensive and medical research has traditionally been thought to play a role in making it so. But research can also help cut the cost of medical care. The notion of research…
Herbal mixtures are comprised of many potentially active chemical compounds at relatively low concentrations. storyvillegirl/Flickr

Quality research of herbal medicines is possible

TESTING ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES - La Trobe University’s decision to accept funding from Swisse for a new centre to research alternative medicines has sparked controversy. This series looks at how the evidence…
Big pharma: a world of many faces. Greg Peverill-Conti

Glaxo: the new modern face of big pharma?

With billions to be made on the back of ill health and notable scandals and cover-ups in its history, it’s fair to say that many see the public face of the pharmaceutical industry as a mask for darker…
Before a new drug can be tested in humans it must undergo comprehensive preclinical screening and testing. Flickr / SandiaLabs

Where’s my cure for cancer?

It seems that every week a major breakthrough in the understanding of cancer is announced in the media. So where are all the drugs that should flow from these discoveries? Unfortunately, the road from…
Learning on the job could make a real difference to healthcare. Tricia Wang

Developing countries and the MOOC learning revolution

Universities are being shaken up by a new mode of learning. The world’s elite institutions are opening up courses so thousands of people can learn for free via their laptops, mobiles or tablets. And these…
The truthfulness of clinical trial data is often debatable. Image from shutterstock.com

Looking back on the chequered past of drug trials

CLINICAL TRIALS – Human clinical trials are an important last hurdle in the development of new drugs and therapies. Today, The Conversation takes a closer look at this vital scientific endeavour with three…
Ethics committees are the very bodies that ensure the safety of clinical trials. Image from shutterstock.com

Abandoning clinical trial safeguards won’t boost local industry

CLINICAL TRIALS – Human clinical trials are an important last hurdle in the development of new drugs and therapies. Today, The Conversation takes a closer look at this vital scientific endeavour with three…
Clinical trials are experimental human research studies designed to test the effectiveness of new drugs, surgical procedures or therapeutic devices. Nestlé/Flickr

Clinical trials are useful – here’s how we can ensure they stay so

From the time the Scottish physician James Lind showed citrus cured scurvy in 1747, clinical trials have had a reputation for being gold-standard evidence about the safety and effectiveness of medical…
Public confidence in medical research is vulnerable to attacks on its integrity. Andrew Huff

What Australia should do to ensure research integrity

Clinical trials of an experimental cancer drug being undertaken by the University of New South Wales were suspended this week, after questions about the accuracy of some preliminary results were made public…
The world might be a brighter place if we all shared our research. Joe Burke

China a research superpower but we could be left in dark

Over the past 25 years we have seen an explosion in top-level clinical trials in China. But only a tiny proportion of that research is available on the main databases used by doctors and researchers in…
Non-publication of clinical trial data is a waste of research resources, among other things. Esther Dyson

Register all trials, report all results – it’s long overdue

If researchers go to the effort of getting funds, recruiting patients, and following them up, you would think that they would be keen to publish the results. So it’s surprising that our best estimates…
Post-marketing studies are often used as ploys to get doctors in the habit of prescribing expensive new medicines. Flickr / Nestle

How Big Pharma opens the market to new expensive drugs

New medicines are often marketed on the basis of clinical trials of limited size and duration. So clinical studies of a medicine after it has reached the market (post-marketing studies) can be a useful…

Columnists (2)

Research and News (4)

Drug trial results must be made public

A team of public health experts has called for the release of all clinical drug trial results for independent analysis following…

Research Briefs (4)