ACRP members give mixed review to press coverage of clinicaltrials

WASHINGTON: Media coverage of clinical trials could be jeopardizing

the chances of recruiting patients, warned the Association of Clinical

Research Professionals (ACRP).



In a white paper and survey released last week, ACRP reported that 75%

of its members believe media reporting about clinical research has

confused and scared the public.



However, the paper also acknowledges that patients are more savvy to the

clinical trial process, thanks to the media, and only 40% of those

surveyed said it was harder to recruit patients now than five years

ago.



Despite this, the report cautioned, 'Public perception of clinical

trials will continue to directly impact sponsors' abilities to recruit

patients in a growing number of trials.'



The study examined coverage over two years in such publications as The

New York Times, the LA Times and USA Today. 'Of those articles, nearly

half reflect a decidedly negative slant with the rest being split

between those considered neutral and those construed as positive.'



Also cited was a recent episode of ABC's Gideon's Crossing, when a

patient was depicted as a 'willing guinea pig who had helped drug

companies make billions of dollars.'



Dennis DeRosia, president of ACRP's North American Regional Council,

said his members only want to see greater context and balance in

coverage.



The demands of the press prompted ACRP to retain its first PR agency,

The Aker Partners, six months ago.



'This is a quantum leap for us,' DeRosia said. 'We want to educate the

public so it can make good healthcare decisions.'



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