Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Author's Response Re: Clinicians as investigators (Maggie Frederick)

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:19 GMT

Author: Gail Henderson
Position: Professor
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Social Medicine.
Submitted Date: January 14, 2008
Published Date: January 14, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

This is a great illustration of some of the difficulties in reaching consensus on the meaning of clinical research. The commentator is correct in pointing out that the word "also" implies that clinical trials are investigating safety and efficacy and providing treatment, thus muddying the distinction between research and treatment that we emphasize in the article. If the "also" were removed, dimension would read: "Clinicians who are in health care settings provide treatment; in a clinical trial setting, they are investigating safety and efficacy of an intervention." This would inevitably draw another critique, perhaps more vehement, that in drawing the boundary so firmly, we exclude the possibility that clinicians do provide treatment in the course of clinical trials and that some clinical trials, in fact, include treatment as part of an intervention or comparison of interventions.

Competing interests declared: I am the first (and corresponding author) of this paper.