Key Concepts of Clinical TrialsAuthor(s): Hasan Mahmud*
The renewed focus on comparative effectiveness research by the federal government serves as a timely reminder of the value of clinical trials for the practice of evidence-based medicine and health care reform. Clinical trials have an impact on society as a whole by boosting the level of care, as well as on the individual patient by increasing the possibilities for effective therapies. Inaccurate information gathered through flawed clinical trials may unintentionally harm patients, and clinical studies also have the potential to pose unknown risks for the participants. Although conducting a well-designed clinical study may appear straightforward, it requires precise technique and oversight that are constrained by basic ethical principles. We provide a summary of the moral values that underpin this study.