Most of us have heard of clinical trials, but many are unclear as to what they are and how to find them. When it comes to creating life-changing drugs and innovative new therapies, medical research is critical. And being so actively engaged in your own health care can grant you access to the most ground-breaking treatment options available. It also allows you to interact with leading medical experts from some of the most preeminent medical facilities in the country.

Additionally, participating in a clinical trial helps the medical community better understand worldwide health concerns. In turn, new and effective treatment options can be explored and developed. Volunteering in this way can be rewarding on many levels.

What exactly is a clinical trial?

Clinical research studies are designed to improve human health and well-being by exploring new medical treatments, preventions, diagnostics and medications. Evaluating the safety and efficacy of new approaches is what drives clinical trials, and also what propels advancements in global health.

Clinical trials fall into one of four categories:

Phase I studies assess the safety

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Sumanah was a 26 year old event planner in New York City when suddenly diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  Sumanah was like many typical 26 year olds, without health insurance and no savings capable of paying for her medical bills. Taking 10 medications for her condition, Sumanah was paying full price at what she “thought” was the cheapest pharmacy. After she discovered that not only were some pharmacies cheaper for the same exact medication, she learned that some pharmacies can be upwards of 16 times more expensive than another pharmacy right across the street. Using this information, Sumanah was able to price shop for the right pharmacy and save a lot on her prescription costs. This story, although not uncommon, shows how important shopping around for medications can be.

In their May issue, Consumer Reports published an article confirming the experience Sumanah and many others have each time they go to fill a prescription. The study focuses on five of the most prescribed medications in the U.S. and reviews more

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