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IU receives $1.7 million research contract from FDA



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George Ball, assistant professor of operations and decision technology at the Kelley School of Business, stands in his office Dec. 2 in Hodge Hall. The FDA awarded IU and four other universities $1.7 million for research involving drug quality. Anna Brown

IU and four other universities received a $1.7 million contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help research effective ways to improve product quality, specifically for pharmaceutical companies.

The $1.7 million is spread out to all five universities over two years. The other universities involved in the project are the Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Long Island University.

George Ball, assistant professor at the Kelley School of Business, is one of two principal investigators on the FDA contract. John Gray, a professor at Ohio State, is the other principal investigator.

Ball said the team, which is comprised of researchers from all five universities, will gather data on aspects of product quality such as product complaints and product recalls. The data will help them determine ways to improve drug quality in the pharmaceutical industry.

Gray said the data will help show the FDA which of its measures help companies improve drug quality.

“Having safe and available drugs is very important to society, so we’re trying to help the FDA ensure safety and availability of the drug supply,” Gray said.

Ball said the team’s research will also help them predict future drug quality problems.

“If you can predict future drug quality problems, then you can help prevent them,” Ball said.

Ball said the money for the contract will be used to compensate the researchers for their time on the project and to pay for potential data sets or other costs necessary to the research.

Gray said the team meets weekly to work on the project, and they will create databases as a joint effort.

“Drug quality is a very important part of the health care in the United States,” Ball said. “If drugs are not made at a high quality, they don’t deliver the needed treatment, and they could actually at times harm people.

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