9 October 2020
Every clinical study we do, we publish it online in specific sites, such as clinicaltrials.gov, so that people can see what types of studies we are doing, why we are doing it, and what we get out of them.

Sharon Carty

Below is a transcript of the video: 

The key thing in planning these types of studies is to understand, first of all, what it is we are trying to measure and for what purpose. Are we looking to continue to develop our evidence package and to provide more information to consumers about the effects of switching to the product? The other piece to think about is when we chose a disease, an endpoint that we want to study, do we see an effect when you quit smoking? If you don't see an effect, you're obviously unlikely to see an effect when you switch. The other thing is also, how long does it take to see that effect? The longer the time it takes to see the effect, the longer your study has to be, which means you don't get data soon to be able to communicate sooner to our consumers or the regulator. And the last piece—probably not the last but at least one important piece, is the cost. Obviously, you need a fair amount of money, resources, and people to actually run these types of studies.

I guess the biggest obstacle is the fact that we are in the tobacco industry, a tobacco company running a clinical study. It is not the most common of scenarios.

When you think about it when we move into people who have early stages of smoking-related diseases, and you add to the fact that we are a tobacco company looking to study a smoke-free product, a reduced risk product in those people, there's an initial reluctance to work with us, which is understandable. Whether that's the companies that helps us run these studies—Contract Research Organizations (CROs) or whether also sites and investigators. Some simply can't work with the tobacco industry, simply because of the policy of the site or the clinic in which they work. So those are the biggest obstacles that we face.

What we do to overcome that is to share the data that we have, what we know so far, and also what we don't know, and why we want to do these types of studies. Usually, it takes time, for sure, we need to give them time to understand and reflect about what we are sharing. But usually, then there is a realization that there is a potential here, and it is worth investing time and effort into further studying these types of products.

I think the more we share the information we have, and the more others can actually do studies, to look also: do they get the same results as us? I think that only helps to enhance the wealth of information we have available to the consumers.

Every clinical study we do, we publish it online in specific sites, such as clinicaltrials.gov, so that people can see what types of studies we are doing, why we are doing it, and what we get out of them.