The process of validating new treatments through clinical trials is one of the most significant yet essential costs met by the global healthcare industry. Clinical trials are not only expensive to run, but also notoriously time-consuming, as clinical-research professionals try to meet all of the associated regulatory criteria. Download PDF Many of these costs and delays are incurred due to inefficiencies associated with recruiting and retaining the patients necessary to complete a trial successfully. A 2003 report into patient recruitment opens with a series of damning statistics that illustrate the scale of the problem: Patient recruitment consumes 27% of the cost of development – that is US$5.9 billion annually around the world – [yet] only 1 in 20 recruited patients provides results that can be included in a regulatory dossier… Recruiting and retaining patients is a major cause of clinical trial delays. In fact, over three-quarters of all clinical trials currently fail to meet their recruitment deadlines. (Wang et al., 2003, p. 1) The view taken by the IBM Institute for Business Value, who produced the report, is that: Inefficient patient recruitment [...]
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Despite claims to the contrary, patients are more than willing to engage in industry-sponsored clinical trials, with altruism, access to new treatments and improved understanding of disease the main drivers for participation, says UK-based recruitment and retention specialist One Research. Much of the company’s recruitment work has been for industry partners, and in discussing this with patients “we consistently see upwards of 85% registering their interest in joining the cohort”, One Research notes. Registration rates “are and have been” consistent at this level since the company started its recruitment programmes, it adds. While that does not necessarily translate into final recruitment rates, it “does show the keenness of these patients to be considered for clinical research”, the company points out. Moreover, high registration rates mean enrolment can be conducted quickly and efficiently once suitable trials become available. Science and Technology Committee report One Research contrasts this experience with a “prevailing view” articulated in last September’s report on clinical trials by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. This suggested that public cynicism about the motives and activities of the pharmaceutical industry [...]