“General Considerations for the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs” (1977), by the United States Food and Drug Administration
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The United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, published 'General Considerations for the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs,' in September 1977. The document defined acceptable practices for investigators who studied new drugs. Specifically, the document outlined the common clinical trial methods. Clinical trials are studies to test whether a new drug is safe before doctors can prescribe it to patients. Prior to 1977, the Protection of Human Subjects Rule primarily regulated clinical drug trials, but it did not specify who could and could not be included in clinical trials. In the document, the FDA recommended that anyone who could become pregnant be excluded from early-phase clinical trials to minimize risks to a potential fetus. After the FDA published the document, investigators excluded women from clinical trials. The document ultimately prevented women of reproductive capacity from participating in early phase clinical trials, which affected women’s health research.