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Pfizer touts first US ’virtual’ clinical study

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 9, 2011

Pfizer Inc. is running the first U.S. clinical study in which patients participate by using mobile phones and the Internet, rather than repeatedly visiting a participating hospital. The study is a pilot project, approved by the Food and Drug Administration and known by the acronym REMOTE. The goal is to determine whether such "virtual" clinical studies can produce the same results as traditional ones that require patients to live near and regularly visit a hospital or clinic for an initial screening and multiple checkups. If it works, it could mean that patients all over America could participate in many future medical studies, allowing under-represented groups to take part, speeding up data collection and likely reducing costs and the rate of participants dropping out. FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley confirmed that this is the first such study in the country.