Mistrust of drug trials rises due to coverage of recalls

BOSTON: Media coverage of drug withdrawals over the past year has made the public warier of clinical trial participation, according to a study by a group that promotes clinical trial awareness and education.

BOSTON: Media coverage of drug withdrawals over the past year has made the public warier of clinical trial participation, according to a study by a group that promotes clinical trial awareness and education.

The nonprofit Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and market research firm Opinion Dynamics found that 48% of 1,000 respondents were negatively influenced by drug safety concerns, and 41% by legal judgments against drug companies.

The respondents indicated that they'd be less likely to enroll in a clinical trial because of the publicity around these issues.

"[Recent events have] put into question the entire drug approval system," said Roni Thaler, president of CISCRP. "There's very little education going on in the media. It's mostly sensationalistic or advertising."

Thaler added that 67% of respondents believe that clinical trials are at least somewhat safe - a finding that hasn't improved since December 2004, when the cox-2 recalls were still fresh in the public's mind.

CISCRP will use the results to expand its ongoing outreach campaigns, Thaler noted. The organization has been addressing safety concerns by educating people about their rights during trials and helping them grasp risks and benefits.

The study also looked at how much trust the public has in the Food and Drug Administration.

Senior citizens were the most critical of the regulatory agency, with only 36% approving of the job it is doing to monitor drugs and 43% disapproving.

For people under 30, in contrast, almost two-thirds approve of the job the FDA is doing.
Thaler noted that further studies would look at why there is an age disparity.

Overall, 51% of respondents said they approve of the FDA's efforts to monitor drugs, and 36% disapprove.

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