Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, has launched the first ever home-based clinical trial programme.
The programme will allow people to participate via social media sites.
The trial is being held in the States and will test the overactive bladder drug Detrol. LA.
The drug giant will allow people to register for the trial online, to receive the drug at home, and to monitor their condition via social networking sites and mobile phone apps.
It is anticipated that Pfizer will source participants via Facebook and Twitter in the first instance. Both sites have a heavy mobile presence, allowing the pharmaceutical company to extend its reach.
Experts say that carrying out drug trials in this way has many benefits. It enables a company to save money on research and development by not spending as much on trial monitoring and data collection services: pharmaceutical companies often pay university research teams to do this for them.
It will also be able to source a more diverse collection of trial participants, with few participant withdrawals and more reliable results as a consequence.
The trial is fully supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is in the process of encouraging pharmaceutical companies to modernise their research and development methods.