Pharmaceutical companies need data.
It doesn’t matter how many scientists and researchers work to develop a drug. The Food and Drug Administration won’t let companies sell the newly developed medications without data proving they are safe and effective.
That’s where companies like Heartland Research Associates come in. Heartland, with locations in Wichita, Newton and Augusta, work with pharmaceutical companies to compile that information.
In fact, they do it so efficiently, they recently won the award for the Best Clinical Site and Trial Network at the recent World Vaccine Congress.
The award recognized the efficiency and quality of data that Heartland Research produces.
Unlike some research companies, Heartland Research works alongside family practice clinics.
In Augusta, those physicians are Dr. Mike Rausch and Dr. Teran Naccarato of Augusta Family Practice.
Dr. Naccarato said the local clinic is able to bring patients together with drug studies that can be a big benefit to both parties.
“The patient gets medication or vaccinations for no charge and they even have study related expenses covered while they participate in some of the trials,” Naccarato said.
Justin Phillips. A Team Leader with Heartland Research said the patient receives medications that haven’t been approved by the FDA yet that are often on the cutting edge of medical research.
Phase IV trials involve medications currently on the market. “These new drugs are often very expensive but the people in the trials receive them for free,” Phillips said.
Erin Hiebert with Heartland Research said that some patients who participate in studies find relief from chronic problems that they have suffered with for years. She said due to the extra testing that is performed to collect data, some patients have had even more important benefits.
“I know of one person who was participating in a constipation study that received a colonoscopy as part of the study and colon cancer was discovered and treatment began much sooner than it would have if it hadn’t been discovered early,” Hiebert said.
Because drug companies are constantly working on new and improved drugs, Heartland Research is constantly looking for study participants.
They are currently enrolling patients in studies for asthma, IBS-constipation, meningitis vaccine (Ages 10-18), MMR vaccine (Ages 12-15 Months), MMR vaccine (Ages 4-6), and smallpox vaccine (Ages 18-40).
Upcoming trials will include ear infections, cold sores, and overactive bladder.