Is Media Portrayal of Clinical Research Causing Negative Perceptions That Endanger Medical Advances?

Association of Clinical Research Professionals Releases White Paper



Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Association of Clinical Research Professionals

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Clinical
 research is largely responsible for this nation's world leadership in
 pharmaceutical innovation.  Breakthrough, life-saving medicines needed by 60
 million Americans are the result of the more than 50,000 clinical trials
 conducted yearly.  These trials depend upon a rapidly increasing pool of
 volunteers -- 2.8 million in 1999 -- to confirm the safety and efficacy of
 these new therapeutics and procedures.
     Today, this medical progress is possibly being endangered, surprisingly
 not by scientific or financial obstacles, but by the nation's media.
 Perceptions of clinical research, gained from the media, are increasingly
 causing Americans to turn their backs on the opportunity to participate in
 research studies.  Evidence that the media may be unfairly portraying the
 risks and benefits of clinical research -- resulting in significant public
 confusion, fear, and misunderstanding -- is included in a just released white
 paper by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), meeting in
 San Francisco April 28 - May 3rd.
     An excerpt from the report provides an example of the media's portrayal of
 clinical research:  "In a recent network drama, the story line revolved around
 a patient who had been enrolled in a multitude of clinical trials down through
 the years. The show portrayed the patient as a willing guinea pig who had
 helped drug companies make billions of dollars; who practically glowed green
 from the backup of experimental drugs in his system; and whose newly diagnosed
 leukemia was possibly a byproduct of the studies in which he had participated.
 Such a depiction might make for good drama, but it's bad news for the public
 image of clinical research."
     Included in the white paper are the results of a January 2001 ACRP survey
 in which more than 700 of its members identified both positive and negative
 attitudes shaped by the media.  Less than one-third (32.3%) of the respondents
 agreed that the media is fair in its portrayal of the clinical research
 industry.  Less than half (42.3%) felt that the media provides "a good public
 service in its reporting of the clinical research industry."  A large majority
 (75.7%) agreed that "media reporting about clinical research has created
 confusion and fear among the public."  On the positive side, they believe
 study subjects today are more knowledgeable about clinical research because of
 media reporting.   Interestingly, despite the fears and confusion about the
 clinical research industry, the respondents also felt the public expects new
 advances in medical research at a faster pace.
     Statistics reported in the white paper confirm that a burgeoning number of
 studies may not be able to go forward without a dramatic increase in the ranks
 of those willing to be clinical trial participants.  "Although there are
 isolated instances of investigator fraud or financial conflicts improperly
 influencing investigators, that is the exception rather than the rule.  The
 media concentrate on the exceptions-the negatives, rarely on the positives.
 I'm afraid that the media treatment of the industry is resulting in more
 people becoming unwilling to volunteer for clinical trials" said James W.
 Maloy, PharmD, the study's lead author and Executive Vice President of Drug
 Research and Analysis Corp.
     "Contrary to media perceptions, the vast majority of clinical trial
 volunteers understands the importance of what they do.  Data in the white
 paper showed that they have found their participation to be a positive
 experience," said Dennis DeRosia, president of the ACRP North American
 Regional Council.  "That is because researchers are dedicated professionals
 who follow strict standards and protocols, as demonstrated by ACRP members.
 Moreover, ACRP is committed to offering additional training and development
 leading to professional certification at every level of clinical research."
 
     ACRP represents clinical research professionals from diverse
 organizations.  ACRP's mission is to define, promote and maintain professional
 standards and best practices.  The Association disseminates information,
 facilitates the exchange of ideas, and develops educational programs for the
 purpose of professional growth.  Ultimately, ACRP members contribute to the
 efficient and swift introduction of new health care products to the
 marketplace.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X51846223
 
 

SOURCE Association of Clinical Research Professionals
    SAN FRANCISCO, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Clinical
 research is largely responsible for this nation's world leadership in
 pharmaceutical innovation.  Breakthrough, life-saving medicines needed by 60
 million Americans are the result of the more than 50,000 clinical trials
 conducted yearly.  These trials depend upon a rapidly increasing pool of
 volunteers -- 2.8 million in 1999 -- to confirm the safety and efficacy of
 these new therapeutics and procedures.
     Today, this medical progress is possibly being endangered, surprisingly
 not by scientific or financial obstacles, but by the nation's media.
 Perceptions of clinical research, gained from the media, are increasingly
 causing Americans to turn their backs on the opportunity to participate in
 research studies.  Evidence that the media may be unfairly portraying the
 risks and benefits of clinical research -- resulting in significant public
 confusion, fear, and misunderstanding -- is included in a just released white
 paper by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), meeting in
 San Francisco April 28 - May 3rd.
     An excerpt from the report provides an example of the media's portrayal of
 clinical research:  "In a recent network drama, the story line revolved around
 a patient who had been enrolled in a multitude of clinical trials down through
 the years. The show portrayed the patient as a willing guinea pig who had
 helped drug companies make billions of dollars; who practically glowed green
 from the backup of experimental drugs in his system; and whose newly diagnosed
 leukemia was possibly a byproduct of the studies in which he had participated.
 Such a depiction might make for good drama, but it's bad news for the public
 image of clinical research."
     Included in the white paper are the results of a January 2001 ACRP survey
 in which more than 700 of its members identified both positive and negative
 attitudes shaped by the media.  Less than one-third (32.3%) of the respondents
 agreed that the media is fair in its portrayal of the clinical research
 industry.  Less than half (42.3%) felt that the media provides "a good public
 service in its reporting of the clinical research industry."  A large majority
 (75.7%) agreed that "media reporting about clinical research has created
 confusion and fear among the public."  On the positive side, they believe
 study subjects today are more knowledgeable about clinical research because of
 media reporting.   Interestingly, despite the fears and confusion about the
 clinical research industry, the respondents also felt the public expects new
 advances in medical research at a faster pace.
     Statistics reported in the white paper confirm that a burgeoning number of
 studies may not be able to go forward without a dramatic increase in the ranks
 of those willing to be clinical trial participants.  "Although there are
 isolated instances of investigator fraud or financial conflicts improperly
 influencing investigators, that is the exception rather than the rule.  The
 media concentrate on the exceptions-the negatives, rarely on the positives.
 I'm afraid that the media treatment of the industry is resulting in more
 people becoming unwilling to volunteer for clinical trials" said James W.
 Maloy, PharmD, the study's lead author and Executive Vice President of Drug
 Research and Analysis Corp.
     "Contrary to media perceptions, the vast majority of clinical trial
 volunteers understands the importance of what they do.  Data in the white
 paper showed that they have found their participation to be a positive
 experience," said Dennis DeRosia, president of the ACRP North American
 Regional Council.  "That is because researchers are dedicated professionals
 who follow strict standards and protocols, as demonstrated by ACRP members.
 Moreover, ACRP is committed to offering additional training and development
 leading to professional certification at every level of clinical research."
 
     ACRP represents clinical research professionals from diverse
 organizations.  ACRP's mission is to define, promote and maintain professional
 standards and best practices.  The Association disseminates information,
 facilitates the exchange of ideas, and develops educational programs for the
 purpose of professional growth.  Ultimately, ACRP members contribute to the
 efficient and swift introduction of new health care products to the
 marketplace.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X51846223
 
 SOURCE  Association of Clinical Research Professionals