New Medicines Offer Benefits
Years Before Approval, New Medicines Still Offer Benefits
03.29.13 | By Randy Burkholder
As I skim the new report “Medicines in Development for Older Americans ,” I’m reminded how new medications that are still being developed and clinically tested have already begun to have positive impacts on patients and local economies all over the country.
To prove the point, I’m focusing here on the fact biopharmaceutical companies are developing 142 new diabetes medicines today and 136 company-supported clinical trials of new diabetic treatments are underway in the Southwestern states of Texas, New Mexico and Utah.
(I chose those states because I love the fact there are something like 75 live clubs playing my kind of music in and around Austin, Texas, I love hiking in the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque and the hiking is equally as inspiring in Utah).
And diabetes is a bad actor in all three states and it’s important to local patients to have new medications for that disease being tested there. We know some diabetics are still looking for the treatments that are most effective for them and for some, a clinical trial of a new medicine could be a good therapeutic option to explore with their doctors.
Diabetics pondering participation in new medicine clinical trials in Texas  have 92 to choose from. In Utah, patients can consider 27 active trials and in New Mexico, there are 17.
The trials are good news for the economies of the three states because biopharmaceutical companies collaborate with university medical schools and science centers, local hospitals and private clinical research facilities to conduct the tests. These comprehensive clinical research studies, which involve thousands of volunteer patients and the generation of tens of thousands of pages of technical and scientific data, account for 45 to 75 percent of the average $1.2 billion cost of developing a new drug.
Clinical trials  are a revenue source for local institutions and equally as important, they give talented local researchers the opportunity to be engaged in cutting-edge clinical research work with the world’s most innovative biopharmaceutical companies.
In Texas, diabetes medicine clinical trials have been conducted by a wide range of research centers, including the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, Northeast Clinical Research of San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. In New Mexico, trial collaborators have included the University of New Mexico Clinical and Translational Science Center and Albuquerque Clinical Trials. In Utah, diabetes clinical research work has been conducted by Optimum Clinical Research, Inc., J. Lewis Research, Inc., the University of Utah and others.
In some cases, the medicines being clinically tested are new-generation biological drugs and that means a strong potential for developing safer and more effective treatments and improving our ability to predict and even prevent disease. In other words, these trials have also helped to advance science and, ultimately, they play a crucial role in improving overall patient health care.