To gauge public opinion of whether clinical trials should be discussed with patients as part of their standard of care.
Research!America, in collaboration with the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, commissioned a nationwide survey of 1,000 Americans.
The majority of survey respondents (86%) agreed that healthcare professionals should discuss clinical trials with patients as part of their standard of care, while 75% thought taking part in a clinical trial was as valuable to the U.S. healthcare system as giving blood.
Despite these statistics, and the 74% of respondents who said they would participate in a trial if they were asked, only 18% of respondents said that they, or someone they knew, had taken part in a clinical trial.
Over half (55%) of the respondents believed that people did not participate in trials because of a lack of awareness and information; 43% thought they were too risky; 41% thought there was too little information about the process; and 38% stated a lack of trust as reasons why they didn’t take part.
Although most respondents (44%) believed that healthcare providers and doctors had the greatest responsibility to educate the public about clinical trials, 74% said that neither their doctor nor another healthcare professional has talked to them about medical research.
The findings of this survey suggest that there is a lack of general clinical trial awareness in the U.S., despite an appreciation among the general public that trials are important to national healthcare.
Compared to a similar Research!America survey carried out in 20131, public opinion about clinical trial importance seems to have improved. When asked how likely it would be for them to take part in a trial based on a doctor’s recommendation, 37% responded very likely this time, compared to 26% in 2013. In addition, the percentage of those who stated that they admired clinical trial volunteers ‘a great deal’ reached 46% – 9% higher than in 2013.
Worryingly, though, both the number of people who hadn’t taken part in a trial (18% in 2017 v 16% in 2013) and those who had never had their doctor talk to them about a trial (74% in 2017 v 70% in 2013) had actually increased slightly.
The latter statistic, when combined with the 44% of respondents who said their healthcare professionals had the greatest responsibility to educate about clinical trials, suggests more needs to be done by the healthcare industry to make clinical trial information more accessible.
- “National Poll: Clinical Research”, published June 2013 by Research!America. Available at: http://www.researchamerica.org/sites/default/files/uploads/June2013clinicaltrials.pdf. Accessed September 2017.
“Public Perception of Clinical Trials”, published July 2017 by Research!America. Available at: http://www.researchamerica.org/sites/default/files/July2017ClinicalResearchSurveyPressReleaseDeck_0.pdf. Accessed September 2017.