First Virtual Study by Pfizer Inc.

(Contributed by Wahab Dogar)

Pfizer Inc., one of the leading New York based pharmaceutical companies with biggest drug making revenue, has started clinical trials in which patients collaborate with company by using internet and mobile phones, rather than repeated visits to hospitals and clinics. This is one of the first of its kind of research.

The aim of this virtual research is to check whether the clinical studies have same results as that of traditional ones in which patients regularly visit clinics or hospitals for initial or multiple checkups.

Success of this study can help in many medical studies in future. This will not only increase speed of data collection but also reduce likely cost on research.

FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley confirmed that this is the first such study in the country.

Pfizer Inc. will study the effectiveness and safety of its blockbuster pill, Detrol LA (tolterodine tartrate), for overactive bladder. (Overactive bladder refers to the condition in which patients have sudden and frequent urges to urinate.)

About 600 patients in 10 states will enroll over the Internet after watching a video explaining the study and any risks, and then filling out a questionnaire. They will then have medication, either Detrol or dummy pills, mailed to them, not knowing which they are taking, as in a traditional study. All the participants will submit information online frequently, directly to one of the study investigators, noting when they take the medicine, how often they urinate and details on symptoms and side effects.
Many medical studies require patient blood or urine samples, and sometimes X-rays or other imaging. Researchers would have to work out a system for specimen collection by local doctors or clinics, and for access to imaging facilities, for any virtual studies needing such data.

Reference and further reading:

RSS_2011&page=1 accessed June 09, 2011.


Wahab Dogar, Batch-II, Hajvery University, Gulberg-III, Lahore, Pakistan


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