CROs need to educate consumers on clinical trials

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

Even with recruitment efforts, clinical trial enrollment numbers remain low. (Image: iStock)
Even with recruitment efforts, clinical trial enrollment numbers remain low. (Image: iStock)

Related tags: Clinical trials

Significant education is needed in order to inform consumers about the existence of clinical trials, according to a recent report.

More than $2bn is spent annually on patient recruitment, yet enrollment numbers remain low, often delaying​ clinical trials.

In order to better understand these low numbers, SubjectWell generated a survey​ to detail consumer perceptions of clinical trials. Of the survey respondents, half had never even heard of clinical trials (96% had never participated in a clinical trial).

However, despite having very little knowledge of clinical trials, 47% of respondents reported a “somewhat positive or very positive perception” towards clinical trials.

People don’t typically self-select for clinical trials unless their pain or disease becomes unmanageable​,” Ivor Clarke, VP of Strategy at SubjectWell, told

If we are going to effectively increase awareness of clinical trials, the pharmaceutical industry needs to spend more time educating the general population about the existence and benefits of clinical trials outside of study-specific advertising​.”

Additionally, very few (31%) felt “confident or very confident” that they would know how to get information about clinical trials.

Reaching people at times when they are not thinking about their condition is incredibly effective, and all of our research has shown that people are eager to learn more about clinical trials when they are presented with a simple introduction​,” explained Clarke.

Of course this is all easier said than done – no individual Sponsor or CRO has the incentive to run general education campaigns that would benefit the entire industry​.”

Ultimately, the more information​ consumers have about clinical trials, the more confident they are about those trials.

Consumers don’t necessarily lack confidence about clinical trials themselves, but they aren't sure that they would know where to look for additional information​,” added Clarke.

According to the report, 15% of respondents said they would search the internet as a first step in order to educate themselves further about clinical trials. Conversely, 11% said they would talk to their physician or healthcare provider.

People are as likely to ask their pharmacist as they are their doctor​,” said Clarke – “we see this need for education about resources as going hand-in-hand with the need for education about the general benefits of clinical trials​.”

Related topics: Markets & Regulations, Phase III-IV

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