CenterWatch Is Hub of Clinical Trials Web Sites

Article excerpt

Pharmacists who want to scope out authoritative information about clinical trials across many different disease states might want to make CenterWatch their World Wide Web destination of choice. The CenterWatch Web site lists more than 7,200 clinical trials that are actively seeking patients all around the world.

Located at www.centerwatch. com, the site has earned a "Top 5%" rating from Starting Point, a free service that reviews and rates the best sites on the World Wide Web. The listings can be searched by therapeutic area or by geographic regions. For example, there are 149 trials being conducted on asthma. Hot links take users to the home pages of a particular study for detailed information, such as patient eligibility and the name and telephone number of the contact person.

The CenterWatch listings have recently been upgraded to include government-funded clinical research studies being conducted by the various National Institutes of Health at the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. The site includes information about how to refer patients to a particular study and a clinical trials search engine for full-text searches with or without eligibility criteria.

"We've seen over the last several years that patients are far more motivated to learn all they can about their illness and treatment options," said Ken Getz, president of CenterWatch, a Boston-based publishing firm covering the clinical trials industry. "They turn to health professionals they trust to give them even more comprehensive information about those options. Clearly, pharmacists are regarded as one of the most trusted patient advisors, and it all comes down to providing the best possible information to the patient community that they serve."

The Web site grew out of the demands of patients who wanted to subscribe to CenterWatch's clinical trials industry newsletter launched in 1995, said Getz. The company worked with patients to design the Web site and talked to the Food & Drug Administration to comply with good clinical practice guidelines. The site logs about 160,000 visits per month; about 85% of them are patients, but many R.Ph.s also check in for studies in their geographic areas. The firm is developing a phone-in system to accommodate patients without Internet access.

The CenterWatch site has two arms: one focused on resources for patients and a separate area devoted to resources for clinical trial industry professionals. …