21st Century Cures Initiative Could Boost Clinical Trials Enrollment

by Amanda Conschafter, blog editor

It’s Clinical Trials Awareness Week. And as patients, health care providers, researchers and industry promote the value of clinical trials participation, one coalition is asking the federal government to help solve clinical trials’ chronic under-enrollment. In a letter to the Health Subcommittee’s Chairman Fred Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette, the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness proposed a key addition to the 21st Century Cures bill: a federally-sponsored public awareness campaign to encourage clinical trials participation.

The coalition, of which the Alliance for Patient Access is a member, called robust clinical trials “a societal imperative.” Its letter noted research reported by the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggesting that some adults aren’t entirely sure what a clinical trial is. The coalition recently released a video with a similar theme.

The letter also highlighted data from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development indicating that clinical trials sites struggled to enroll enough patients. Eleven percent of those surveyed failed to enroll even a single patient. The coalition’s signatories urged an effort similar to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ organ registry campaign. “By applying a similar approach,” the signers explained, “the federal government could once again spur citizens to act in the interest of their neighbors and the greater national community – this time by enrolling in a clinical trial.”

To realize such a campaign, the coalition suggested, 21st Century Cures could incorporate an advisory council on clinical trials awareness, create educational materials, and provide financing and oversight for the campaign itself.

Clinical Trials Awareness Week is May 4-8.


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