A representative of the pharmaceutical industry visited Iowa this week to tout the economic impact of clinical trials for prescription drugs. Jeff Trewhitt is a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America.
His “Research in Your Backyard” report found over 1,100 clinical drug trials have been conducted in Iowa since 1999. Trewhitt doesn’t know how many patients were involved in testing new drugs, but he asserts “thousands of research jobs” have been created in Iowa as a result of those clinical trials.
“The fact is that the biopharmaceutical companies generally hire local research institutions. They generally hire the state’s medical schools, local hospitals and special clinical research centers to actually conduct the trials for them,” Trewhitt says. “So that means that local research institutions over the years from these trials have been getting a steady source of revenue.”
According to Trewhitt, there are 125 clinical trials underway today in Iowa for a variety of drugs that treat chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma. Of the 1,103 drug trials that have been started in Iowa since 1999, over half of them were handled by staff at research institutions in Iowa City.
Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. A recent report indicates the international pharmaceutical industry is scaling back drug trials in the United States. In 2002, 60% of clinical drug trials in the world were conducted in the U.S., but in 2010, that had dropped to 40%.