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Thoughts on our first year by Petar Hitev, PRC Clinical Trials Pharmacist

Pharmacists at the PRC: Exeter

Modern medicines rely on extensive, rigorous testing to prove the safety of the potential compounds used in their manufacture. This highly regulated testing is absolutely essential to ensure patient safety and public confidence, but it also means that bringing a new therapy to market requires seriously deep pockets.

Nevertheless, studies have revealed that more than 75% of the public say they would be willing to take part in clinical trials. This suggests that with more effective engagement, researchers could find many more trial participants. This combined with the pandemic cries out for alternative models of conducting research.

The pharmaceutical industry has shown it favours options for decentralised research that use digital technology for remote and agile monitoring of trials. However, although a significant proportion of potential trial participants are quite keen on ‘virtual visits’ via video calls, many prefer to retain an element of ‘real-world’ interaction, through visits with the research team on-site, even during the COVID-19 crisis.

The PRC: Exeter provides a way of delivering these ‘hybrid’ participation models, through a novel approach to organising research in outpatient and hospital settings. This offers possibilities for a fuller focus on trial participants and flexibility to match clinical trial requirements and patient needs.

We have had a fantastic and fruitful start at PRC: Exeter, and we continue to build on these foundations by embracing novel ways of conducting research, using both high technology and the old-fashioned personal approach to remain in close touch with our patients.

I am very optimistic that our current and future clinical trials at the PRC: Exeter will help to deliver real answers both for patients and science, and provide new and exciting benefits for the whole of society.