A Clinical Research Organization is an organization dedicated to clinical research serving as an instrument to bring latest therapies and drug inventions from the experimental laboratories and make them accessible to real patients. The discipline of clinical research is a confluence of the two different streams, the laboratory and the treatment centre and translates breakthroughs in medicine into cures for human disease.
Traditionally, major pharmaceutical companies that sponsor drug trials have been the largest centres of clinical research but lately, contract research organizations (CROs) have begun to conduct researches on behalf of the sponsors.
One of the most preferred career options existing in the pharmaceutical industry today is the profile of a clinical research associate (CRA). CRAs can work independently for sponsors or for pharmaceutical companies or representatives contract research organisations.
The typical applicant for a CRA position should possesses a life science related degree from a relevant institution, which can range from graduate, post graduate and nursing level qualifications. The candidate should have in depth knowledge of ICH-GCP guidelines and a strong interest in clinical research.
The main duty of clinical research associate is to rigorously monitor clinical trials, and for this purpose the job requires the individual to travel to the clinical institutions conducting clinical trials to ensure that all of the procedures of the trial are in accordance with the GCP (Good Clinical Practice) guidelines. Their role in drug development is at every stage. CRAs are inclusive in Phase I, II, III, or IV (post-marketing) of clinical trials.
The Clinical Research has gained great importance in crediting any medical institution. Unfortunately, the people who qualify to do research, do not walk down this lane and opt for more rewarding pastures. Due to the shortage of supply, CRAs are always in demand. Their role is almost the same in every company barring a few very advanced trials. It is easy for them to switch jobs.
People who like travelling very much enjoy their CRA jobs. The projects deal with extensive operations and CRAs have to travel to many close and distant clinical trial sites to monitor all details of the ongoing trials. They present reports to the sponsor or the clinical research organization they work for. Employers usually offer high incomes and excellent benefits to retain their workforce, as extensive travelling tends to be a little stressful for the employees.
As they gain experience, this field offers them opportunities for growth and personal development. They enjoy rewarding careers and move ahead by taking on senior roles of management where they organise and lead teams of junior CRAs and coordinate their activities to manage successfully operational aspects of clinical trials.
The road for a clinical research associate is not very easy but definitely worth pursuing. The job gives you immense satisfaction of making a notable contribution to the betterment of the mankind.