Clinical Research insights from CRfocus

Blogging for Clinical Research focus, the journal of The Institute of Clinical Research

Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Cartoon from November’s CRfocus – 20(11)

Posted by Andrew Smith on November 24, 2009

Catherine's study team had changed so many times, she'd done more staff inductions than site initiations.


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Cartoon for October’s issue of CRfocus

Posted by Andrew Smith on September 29, 2009

Prothero didn’t believe in these new-fangled feasibility studies and rankings to decide where to site clinical studies...

Prothero didn’t believe in these new-fangled feasibility studies and rankings to decide where to site clinical studies...

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Cartoon for September’s issue of CRfocus

Posted by Andrew Smith on August 18, 2009

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Cartoon for Septembers issue of CRfocus

Dr Simpkins drew the short straw at the pre-inspection meeting.

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From the issue: It’s not all work, work, work

Posted by Andrew Smith on January 23, 2009

To round off CRfocus each month, we look at the lighter side of clinical research. To make this work, we need your contributions of things related to clinical research, and medicine more generally, that make you laugh. Send your contributions to These are some of the items intended for February’s issue.

Hollywood goes pharma?

At some time or another, I’m sure all of us has daydreamed about being a film star. But if real film stars decided on a change of career into clinical research, what roles would they end up in?

  • Meryl Streep would work in QA, delivering results with precision
  • Mickey Rooney would be Operations Manager for a small university biotech spin-off: “Let’s do the show right here!
  • Sigourney Weaver would be an unflappable line manager, nurturing but able to be ruthless if necessary
  • Quentin Tarantino would become famous as the fastest implanter of implantable medical devices… often faster and messier than the patients themselves might like!
  • Will Smith would be the Project Manager everyone wants on their bid defence team. Joe Pesci would be brought out of retirement to turn round failing studies… or else!
  • Wall-E would become a CTA, patiently clearing up the mess left by others before nurturing a study from green shoot to sturdy tree
  • Renée Zellweger would be a CRA, doing what it takes to get the job done, before walking off into the sunset


The International Secret Society of Journalists and Editors (what do you mean you haven’t heard of them?!) has decreed that every newspaper or magazine published in 2009 must include an item or photograph including new US President Barack Obama. While we’ve been assured that he is an avid reader on CRfocus, we’ve yet to source a picture of him with our venerable journal. In the meantime, here is our prediction of what President Obama will accomplish for clinical research. We’ll be generous, and give him his first 100 days in office as a deadline:

  • Patients will accurately diagnose themselves and assess the inclusion/exclusion criteria before pro-actively contacting investigation sites to volunteer.
  • Data queries will vanish overnight as blood tests and patient-recorded outcomes are replaced by a hand-held ambient full-body scanner. The only drawback is that all doctors will be called “Bones”.
  • The FDA will find a new algorithm to dramatically reduce the volume of evidence required to accurately assess a new medicine’s safety and effectiveness. All its decisions will be made within days of submission.
  • The general public will realise that they’ve been wrong about the medicines development industry, and we’ll receive a round of applause every time someone takes a tablet or receives an injection.
  • Hope will become the most effective placebo of all time, curing all acute conditions, and giving respite from chronic suffering… until the end of his term of office, or at least until the post-election euphoria wears off…

Another Ten Things…

This month, as we find ourselves solidly in 2009 and the meeting-fest restarts in earnest, we’re bringing you “Ten things not to say in a study planning meeting”:

10 Is there an attendance list? I’d like to action someone who isn’t here.

9 No, really: I think we could achieve double that recruitment in half the time.

8 Why can’t the first part of the second party be the second part of the first party… or is that the contract for a cross-over study?

7 … and that’s the point in the schedule when we meet to reschedule the rest of the project…

6 We’ve scheduled bloods every week for 6 months; can’t we just take one big sample at the end?

5 Okay, so the investigator who recruits most patients gets to name the drug…

4 We’ll just copy this whole section from the 1986 protocol on this indication…

3 Does taking copies of “ICH GCP for Beginners” to the site initiation meeting count as training?

2 We’ve had a very productive meeting… but this wasn’t it!

1 Nothing!

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