NATIONAL development entails enormous research, just as the university’s success lies primarily on this endeavor. This is the credo of the UST Hospital research unit, dubbed “the other research center.”

Dr. Bernardo Cuevas, M.D., director of the research unit, believes that to achieve success, there is a need for a research management group to integrate research works, distribute opportunities equally, and balance abilities of researches.

The hospital research unit, established in 2007 by the Institutional Review Board Committee headed by Dr. Grace Garayblas-Gonzaga, is structured to manage clinical research, monitor processes, and integrate output.

“Since there are so many different departments in the hospital, each with a research committee and programs, we decided to have one management group that will consolidate and make the processes of how to do research as uniform for every department as possible,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said “research independence” of each department hindered the development of the hospital, resulting in unnecessary competition.

“The main idea is to make technical ability and knowledge on research activities equal to every resident (doctor) doing research,” he said.

Because of lack of funds, the researchers cannot rely on UST to finance their projects, Cuevas admitted. Most of the time, drug companies sponsor clinical researches.

“All drug companies here in the Philippines cannot sell medicines here unless they do extensive research about their product,” Cuevas said.

Alarming increase

Due to this requirement by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the number of researches and clinical trials done without the hospital’s direct supervision jumped, Cuevas said.

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“The requirement of the FDA before you sell drugs is that they have to undergo extensive research. We found out that the consultants and the clinical trials using the facilities of the hospital are dispersed in different areas in the hospital, making it hard for us to monitor them. This led us to institutionalize the entire thing,” he said.

Cuevas added: “The name UST gives credit to the research output based on their clinical trials, so the doctors have a gain from UST. The doctors do not pay for anything and since they are not paying, we realized that if we could manage and consolidate them, the hospital could get something from these researches.”

Moreover, the hospital had received complaints of unequal treatment by doctors between patients and research subjects, making the establishment of the research management unit a necessity.

“The patients who go to the hospital are disregarded by doctors over their research patients. So we have to segregate them to correct such things,” he said.

Cuevas pointed out that such practice is unethical since doctors are primarily in the hospital to cure people.

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