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RESOURCE: How Can We Encourage Participation in Clinical Trials?

Failed clinical trials come at a huge cost to their pharmaceutical sponsors. Many trial sites fail to enroll more than a single patient—up to 60% of oncology trials, according to Covance, for example. Yet they estimate it costs a sponsor $50,000 for a site start-up, with a loss of almost $2 billion between 2006-2010 from non-performing sites.

Did you know that only 3% of patients with cancer⁠ participate in clinical trials? Although we have an aging population and cancer rates increase with age, this dismal participation rate hasn’t budged in recent years. What factors are at play?

The biggest barrier in recruitment is lack of encouragement or support from the attending physician. Many physicians simply are unaware of clinical trials that might benefit their patient. Further, with the increasing pressure to see patients more and more quickly, they simply don’t have the time to engage in lengthy discussions with patients. Many are also concerned about lack of control—it is critical that the trial physician communicate regularly with the primary physician.

There is a huge lack of awareness about clinical trials. In a 2000 Harris Interactive survey, 80% of cancer patients were unaware of clinical trial options. In a 2013 Zogby survey, more than half of patients were still unaware of trials. Only a quarter learned of trials from their physician.

READ MORE… How Can We Encourage Participation in Clinical Trials?.

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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