The pharmaceutical industry is facing a crucial shortage in the area of clinical trials. With an estimated 4,360 new drugs in the pipeline, it has become an increasing challenge for the industry to recruit both qualified patient volunteers and experienced researchers.
Only an estimated 5 million to 6 million study subjects — of 50 million North Americans with serious chronic illnesses — participate in clinical trials each year. Our industry is failing to reach and to convince 90% of the eligible population about the importance and benefits of clinical-trial participation — 80% of clinical trials do not meet the target recruitment and enrollment deadlines, and 27% of clinical development time is spent enrolling subjects. The current shortage translates into lost time and lost dollars.
The reasons for the recruitment shortage are numerous. Some potential subjects are simply unaware of clinical trials, and primary physicians have no real incentive to refer patients. Other patients have become frightened because of recent sensationalized and unbalanced media reports. One example is the recent Time cover story, which refers to patient volunteers as “human guinea pigs.” These reports unnecessarily alarm the public…
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Kathleen B. Drennan serves as chief, global marketing and strategic business development, for Global Clinical Trial Services, a division of The Corbett Healthcare Group, an Omnicom Group Company.