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Poll: Doctor’s advice key to clinical trial participation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 24, 2013

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Most Americans are open to participating in a clinical trial upon their physician’s recommendation, according to a survey of about 1,000 adults released in June. Nearly three-quarters of patients would sign up for a clinical trial if their doctor said it would be beneficial, said the survey, conducted by Zogby International on behalf of Research!America, a nonprofit that advocates for more medical research funding.

Eight in 10 Americans have heard about a clinical trial opportunity through the Internet or other means, but only a quarter have heard about one from a physician or other health professional. The survey shows the critical role that direct communication plays in recruiting patients for clinical trials, said Robert Califf, MD, vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina. Duke co-sponsored the poll (link).

“It is critical for providers and health systems in the U.S. to recognize the importance of generating knowledge about which treatments are best through participation in clinical trials,” Dr. Califf said. “Advances in common diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, as well as rare diseases, depend on physicians and other members of the health care team offering their patients a chance to participate in clinical trials.”

Recruitment of clinical trial participants in the U.S. has become more difficult and costly, pushing many studies abroad to developing countries, where protections for human research subjects can be less rigorous than they are in this country. Many Americans have concerns about signing up for clinical trials, the survey said. More than half cited a lack of trust or worries about risk, while more than a third said compensation is too low and participation is too time-consuming.

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