What is a clinical trial?

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A clinical trial is one of the ways medical professionals and drug companies go about evaluating the potential safety and effectiveness of new and/or already approved drugs for potential human use. By the very fact that it is designated a “clinical” trial means that it involves people. The design of the trial, its goals and the methods to be used must be carefully spelled out in a written document called a protocol. Before a clinical trial can begin enrolling people into the study, it must be approved by an independent body known as an Institutional Review Board whose responsibility is to insure that the study is conducted properly, ethically and insures at all times the safety of the people participating in the trial.

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