Aug 31, 2014

Americans avoid clinical trials—why?

On this blog site we have written several articles about experimental medicine, new drug approval by the FDA, and the low adult participation rate in cancer clinical trials—in the 3% to 5% range. A recent online survey of more than 1000 adult volunteers produced some interesting answers to questions about clinical trials—attitudes, beliefs, fears, costs, and individual needs. 

The poll was commissioned by Research America, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, the Clinical Research Forum, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine and the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative. The results were published by

How the 1006 online volunteers responded:
  • 72% said they would likely participate if their doctor recommended it (26% very likely, 46% somewhat likely)
  • 70% said their physicians had never discussed medical research with them
  • The Internet was the most common source of clinical trial information (53%)
  • 51% cited a lack of trust in the process for not participating
  • 53% said a lack of information kept them from pursuing clinical trials
  • 35% were concerned with compensation for participation
  • 27% cited privacy concerns
  • 69% would consider the reputation of the doctor or medical center conducting the trial
  • 37% admire others who participate
  • 73% want to advance medical research

What does all of this mean? A recurring theme is that people don’t have enough information and particularly don’t get enough information from their doctors. There are probably other factors that lead to final decisions. Remember, whatever the numbers in this survey, still only 3% to 5% of adults with cancer ever participate in a clinical trial.

Want to see the Research America Clinical Research Poll questions and results for yourself? How would you respond?
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To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.
To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.

(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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