Letter - ABPI took proactive steps on drugs trial

Contrary to what Kate Nicholas thinks (24 March), some of us were extremely active in the catastrophic Northwick Park drugs trial.

During the three days from when the story broke, the ABPI undertook nearly 40 broadcast interviews and answered around three times that number of media enquiries. Our message - that this event was quite unprecedented and that, therefore, there was no reason to doubt the general safety of the process - came across strongly.

But we seemed to have failed to communicate to Nicholas that Phase-II and III clinical trials, which are conducted in people with the particular condition rather than healthy volunteers, are not conducted where 'a product is already on the market'. On the contrary, they are a vital part of the pre-licensing process.

Richard Ley, head of media relations, ABPI.

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