Wednesday: Barbara Jordan Conference Centre (Erin and Cara)

On Wednesday we had another early start, beginning with a short walk to the Barbara Jordan Conference Centre.

We began with a welcome and introduction from Charlie Thompson the chairman for the International Children’s Advisory Board of Directors and head of ICAN, who told us about Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, who have recently introduced a new board game, The Long Road to Drug Discovery.

In the game you work for a pharmaceutical company, and compete with rival companies to get a drug to the market, in the least amount of time, making the biggest profit, with bonuses for no concerning side effects in the trial phases.

During the game, you learn about the different phases that take place during a drug trial, all the things that can go wrong, or right at the roll of a dice. It takes what is a very complex and confusing process, breaking it down into stages of the essentials, making it appropriate for all ages and audiences.

After The Long Road to Drug Discovery, we were spoken to by Health Canada, the FDA, and the EMA, explaining the idea of regulatory science. Dr Diana Murphy spoke to us about what regulatory science is, the science of developing new tools, standards and approaches to assess the safety, efficiency and quality of regulated products.

group photo of young people attending cenfrence at the Barbara Jordan Conference Centre

Following our lunch, Kate Harvey from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics gave a talk on the ethical decision involved in clinical trials. We were split into groups and given a mock example for a clinical trial recruiting young people into a trial for asthma. There were ethical issues that had to be identified by our groups, we discussed them, and then decided if we would take part in the trial. Some of the ethical issues involved consent and that a child could not consent to participate unless their guardian agreed. This potentially could cause issues if the child was more informed and motivated than their parents. Consent is an issue we speak about a lot in our group because in Scotland we are adults at 16, and if we can show we have capacity can legally consent on our own to clinical procedures or non drug trials, but in other countries it is 18. The group discussion was an effective way of involving everyone, creating an active and informative discussion about the ethics of clinical trial, involving consent and other important aspects.

Young people attendng conference at the Barbara Jordan Conference Centre

We were then giving a short briefing about how an American Bill becomes a law, and the stages it has to go through. This involves a game where we had to create a bill, and take roles of the personnel involved in the passing of the law. This was a fun and informative game, giving detailed insight into the passing of American laws, relevant to medical trials and the problems involved.

Overall, it was a fun and educational day, where I felt everyone in the room was able to partake, despite the age range being 11-50+.

In the evening we had some time off, so we went for a meal with the English YPAG. We were all tired but enjoyed sharing stories of our experiences so far.