Pharmacies to raise clinical trial awareness

To meet patient recruitment target on time is one of the major challenges in management of a clinical trial and can cause significant and costly drug development delays. Despite clinical trial registers and improvements of recruitment strategies we still struggle to effectively reach patients and raise awareness for clinical trials. It is time to go beyond traditional methods and to think outside the box.

Many years ago we worked successfully with local pharmacies helping us with recruitment of asthmatics for a phase 1 clinical trial at our phase 1 unit in Sydney. Patients on average visit their pharmacist more often than they see their GP or specialist, which provides plenty of patient interactions opportunities for the pharmacist and their staff. Recently Kenneth Getz from CISCRP reported data from one of their studies where they evaluated the impact of in-pharmacy education on patient’s knowledge, interest and willingness to participate in clinical trials. They engaged and trained independent community pharmacies and equipped them with educational material to display and distribute. The results indicated that outreach through the pharmacy educational channel indeed improved patient’s knowledge of and interest in participating in clinical trials.

Pharmacies represent a powerful outreach and education opportunity because of their accessibility and closeness to patients. They are especially valuable for remote areas where patients are very difficult to reach otherwise. Furthermore, pharmacists are one of the most trusted sources for health related information. Involving pharmacies to raise general and specific clinical trial awareness will help patients to learn about and participate in clinical trials.

Read more in Kenneth Getz original article here.

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