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Clinical trials are research tools intended to evaluate how effective medical techniques are. Each trial has a protocol that describes what will be done and how each step will be implemented, and that determines justification. Every trial has a specific set of conditions as to who can or cannot participate. Clinical trials can provide useful information about which pharmaceutical products or interventions should be further investigated in better-designed studies.

The origins of clinical trials go back to the 18th century when comparison groups were used to evaluate different approaches, such as the eating of citrus to treat scurvy. Following an outbreak of fatalities resulting from use of a diethylene glycol solution of sulfanilamide, the U.S. Federal Pure Food and Drug Act was amended in 1938 and ...

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