We’re all used to the idea of medications. We take them when we have a headache, and we take them when we have infections. Before those medications become available for our use, the pharmaceutical companies put them through a rigorous safety check.
It Starts With Animal Testing
All pharmaceutical companies will test any new drugs on animals before they ever reach the hands of humans. This lab testing helps to answer some basic questions regarding the safety of each new drug. Referred to as the preclinical research phase, animal testing is done to determine if the drug spikes toxicity in the animals. Each preclinical research phase must be properly documented and the results revealed to the FDA for review.
Phase 1 Clinical Testing
The next thing that pharmaceutical companies do to ensure the safety of the general public in regards to their newest drugs is to clinically test them. This is done under the watchful eye of a clinical research organization. A small group of individuals with the illness being treated will be submitted to the drug for a set period of time. All adverse side effects and treatment improvements will be recorded.
Phase 2 Clinical Testing
Once the FDA has reviewed the results from the first phase of clinical testing, they may approve the drug for further testing. The pharmaceutical companies will utilize a larger group of individual test subjects. All tests are performed under the safety of knowledgeable officials called a panel. It must be comprised of a scientist, medical professional, and someone who doesn’t work at the medical testing facility.
On-Going Reporting After Marketplace Introduction
The pharmaceutical companies continue to perform on-going reporting of their medications to the FDA. This vigorous reporting shows any adverse events or side effects that patients experience after taking the medication. This on-going reporting helps to identify if there are any major issues with the medication that were missed during the clinical trial phase. If necessary, the FDA may remove a drug off of the market if they notice major adverse problems.
Many times, it becomes very easy to take the latest drug without understanding what the research is behind it. We rely on major organizations like the FDA to assure that drugs are safe for us to use. However, it’s important to realize the big rule that pharmaceutical companies play in ensuring the safety of any new drug that hits the marketplace.