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Clinical trials really pay off

A new study finds that large-scale human trials of new treatments in medicine have the potential to pay rich dividends-huge economic benefits from improved quality of life.

S. Claiborne Johnston and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco evaluated all 28 trials that the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) in Bethesda, Md. had ever funded to test the efficacy of new drugs or procedures. They focused on the eight trials for which there were data on a therapy's use and impact. Adding the ensuing years' cost of the therapies in this group boosted their cumulative total cost to $3.6 billion.

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