About the Placebo Control Blog

What is this?

This blog has two and a half main themes. First and foremost, it’s about improving enrollment in clinical trials – looking at data to discover what approaches are successful in engaging patients to participate in medical research. A second (and I think complementary) theme is the greater regulatory framework of clinical trials in the world today, with a special emphasis on the FDA and EMA and how they manage the drug development process. The half-theme that I seem to keep coming back to is the humble placebo itself. I’m no placebologist, mind you, but it’s something that’s always interested me so I try to keep current.
A rare glimpse inside Pbo HQ...


Why am I doing this?

The rate at which patients sign up for clinical trials is incredibly slow (turgid, glacial, indolent – pick your favorite adjective). The fact that something this important can proceed at a pace this desultory is, in a word, embarrassing.

We in the industry compound the problem by being maddeningly opaque about how we find and enroll patients in our studies. When I first started working in this field, I thought all the obscurity was there to protect valuable trade secrets, but I have been doing this long enough now to be certain that’s not the case: for the most part, we write substance-free articles about clinical trial patient recruitment because we have nothing substantive to say about clinical trial patient enrollment.

Drug approvals: Choose your own adventure.
This blog is a personal attempt at fixing that. I have some data and some thoughts. With them, I hope to convince people that we have a responsibility to work together openly to improve patient interest, trust, and enthusiasm for clinical research.


Who do I think I am?

By day I’m the VP, Consulting Director for CAHG Clinical Trials. It’s a great title – I got to create it myself – but it doesn’t have a lot of explanatory power. At heart, though, it’s pretty simple:

I’m a guy who knows a little math. I read as much as I can about clinical trials, and I spend a fair bit of time thinking and talking about how to make them better.

That’s about it. I have no formal academic training in this area. I spend much of my time
interacting with MDs, PhDs, and PharmDs – most of them are wonderful, caring, intelligent people, but I also think pharma suffers from a bad case of credentialism that results in an industry-wide failure of imagination and critical thinking.

I’m hoping you’ll evaluate the arguments in this blog on their merits.


Caveat Shortor – Financial Disclosures

I do not own or trade individual stocks. I have no personal financial interest in any of the companies I write about (and if for any reason I do I will clearly highlight it in any possibly-associated post). Any work I do with pharmaceutical companies is entirely in my capacity as a salaried employee of CAHG Clinical Trials. Like most every salaried employee, I work under a pretty thorough confidentiality agreement, so a) any data shared on this site that arose from any work I’ve done has been anonymized, and b) any opinions I might express about specific companies is based entirely on publicly-available information.

Without a doubt, some of the best coverage of what’s happening in clinical trials today is not by healthcare journalists, but by financial journalists and investment analysts. So I try to follow what they’re writing about and interact with them on places like Twitter. But if you’re an investor looking for stock insight, this ain’t the blog for you – I just don’t have any juicy insider dirt for you to trade on. Sorry. Any investment success you experience from reading this blog is purely placebic.