The public still unclear about how clinical studies work

The public still unclear about how clinical studies work

October 19, 2018 0 By Kei Taylor

Decades ago, few people gave much thought to clinical trials unless they had some vested interest in the topic; today, this situation has changed. Most people know about and understand the importance of clinical trials for medical research and progress; however, despite the raised level of awareness, people generally have little understanding of the process involved.

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The general perception of clinical trials

A statement released by Reuters Health outlining research study findings – the study involved over 12,000 people, 2,200 of whom had previously taken part in clinical research – reveals that:

– 85 per cent of the respondents believed that clinical trials are an important part of the drug development process.
– 90 per cent believed that there was no real risk involved in joining a clinical trial.
– Only 18 per cent of those asked had taken part in a trial.
– Over half had no idea where these trials took place.
– Nearly half said the option of joining a clinical trial had never been raised by any doctor they had seen during treatment.
– Many felt that taking part in a trial would be inconvenient or even burdensome.
– Around 50 per cent of those with clinical trial experience reported that it had a negative impact on their regular routines

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The impact of these findings

Low participation numbers seriously delay research and the launching of vital new drug treatments, so increasing the numbers of patients joining clinical trials is a major focus. Being aware of the factors that put potential participants off enables those responsible for recruiting patients to join adaptive phase 1 studies to tackle them head-on. This could involve revising the current processes at all stages to reduce the perceived and actual inconveniences reported.

Raising the patients’ profile

Previous studies on the topic of low trial participation have tended to focus on feedback from medical and clinical staff, with patient reporting being either downplayed or ignored completely. New approaches adopted by organisations such as can only benefit everyone involved and hopefully increase the number of people who are interested in joining a clinical trial in the future.

A more patient-centred approach that includes establishing a clear two-way communication channel is essential in a field that relies on volunteer participation to both exist and continue.