Physicians and Patients Don't Trust Clinical Trials

By Silverman, Jennifer | Clinical Psychiatry News, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Physicians and Patients Don't Trust Clinical Trials


Silverman, Jennifer, Clinical Psychiatry News


BETHESDA, MD. -- Recruiters for clinical trials face barriers from physicians and patients who don't trust the health care system, Dr. John Hogan said at a symposim on health disparities in clinical trials sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"There's a deep-rooted mistrust among patients who don't have access to ivory tower institutions and the physicians who don't work in them," said Dr. Hogan, a primary care and HIV specialist in Washington. Physicians who refer their patients to trials are often anxious about their patients' welfare and their prospects of getting experimental drugs.

"This is why physicians don't refer patients--and why patients don't want to go." he said.

But patient recruitment is just one roadblock. Site variability and inefficient referral management are some of the other deterrents to successful clinical trials, said Kathleen Drennan, chief of global marketing and strategic business development with Iris Global Clinical Trial Solutions, Chicago.

"An estimated $1 billion wordwide is spent on patient recruitment," but only 10% of eligible patients actually participate in the trials. Up to 75% of study volunteers can either drop out or get lost because of improper scheduling, lack of support and education, and inadequate tracking during the trial, Ms. Drennan said.

Many community-based physicians want to support clinical trials, but they lack the time and the resources to gain enough information about the trials, Dr. Hogan said.

Physicians need to come out of their "comfort zone" and become more informed about clinical trials, he said.

Clinical trial sponsors could improve matters by holding open houses or arranging teleconferences with physicians to educate them about trials and give them the opportunity to meet the staff of a trial, Dr. Hogan said.

It's unclear how many physicians in private practice understand how many phases there are in a trial.

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