What would you say to someone on the fence about joining a clinical trial?
Martinez: Some people just need an example to look to. We all have headaches and we may or may not have taken medicine to alleviate those headaches. If you think about it, even the safest drugs had to go through clinical trials before they could be available for you and me to take.
Or, some people are hesitant to get involved in a clinical trial because it wasn’t suggested by their doctor. However, many doctors don’t suggest clinical trials to their patients on a regular basis. Patients need to understand they are in control and can initiate that conversation with their doctor or look for clinical trials on their own.
Facheris: I agree Nina. In my mind, the patient and doctor trust relationship is important, yet patients should understand that they hold the responsibility. They should feel empowered to get involved, learn more and know what clinical trials are out there for their disease area.
Unfortunately, approximately 80 percent of clinical trials fail to meet enrollment timelines2and nearly a third (30 percent) of Phase 3 study terminations are due to enrollment difficulties, making recruitment the single biggest reason for trial failure.3 New treatments cannot be developed and science cannot progress without the help of people like you, Nina.
The Healthy Volunteer Perspective
“I participate in clinical trials since it is a great way to use your health for a greater good, to learn about and participate in science … If folks are nervous or unsure, I remind them that research is only as good as the data that’s collected – and someone needs to volunteer to participate.”
-Rachel Pryzby, a healthy clinical trial volunteer.
What else should people know?
Facheris: I wish people understood what it takes to get from start to finish in the drug development process. From discovery and development to first in human testing, then onto approval, it is approximately 12 to 15 years for any treatment to be approved.
A great deal of work and resources go into the process necessary to get a treatment to market and then many drugs fail between Phase 2 and 3. And by that time, millions of dollars have been spent on those potential treatments. There are many reasons for the failures, but it’s unfortunate if one of those reasons is due to inadequate clinical trial participation.
Martinez: We need to frame our failures as successes. People tend to be motivated by outcomes. I think people should understand that the contributions they can make now to the clinical trial process can significantly help move the dial forward for people five to 10 years down the road. We need to tell them that none of this is done in vain and their participation will help us advance science – if not immediately for them, for others like them in the future.
To learn more about what’s involved in the U.S. clinical trials process, visit Clinical Trials and Me.