for Veterans and the Public
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research program that tests a new medicine to see if it is safe and works well. When a new medicine (or drug) is first discovered, you cannot get it by prescription. Researchers must first test it in a laboratory with animals. Then, they must do a clinical trial in a hospital or clinic to test it in people. They test it to see if it is safe and to see how much of the medicine (or what dose) is enough to work.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency that decides if a new drug is safe enough to give to patients by prescription. It looks at the results of the clinical trials to make this decision. Testing drugs for hepatitis C is very important, and clinical trials are a way to find new and better medicines. All medicines that you can now get for hepatitis C were first tested in clinical trials.