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Study: Safety concerns, costs, placebos are impediments to study enrollment

Fears of side effects, potential higher costs, or being assigned to the placebo group dissuade people from enrolling in clinical trials, according to a new study that was the subject of a recent stat.com article.

Those of us who work in research know that we have to be careful when approaching potential subjects regarding studies. While we have various pressures on us to get people enrolled, we must be careful to provide only accurate information and leave the final decision up to the individual. We also must be very, very careful to not overpromise regarding a study’s potential benefit. One statistic cited in the stat.com article gives us pause — 58 percent of doctors felt that a key reason to participate in a trial would be the particular treatment’s only availability is through the trial. There are at least two reasons for concern here. First, if there’s a placebo group, the subject may not even get the study treatment. Second, we don’t know if the study treatment even works. If we knew it worked, we wouldn’t be doing a study on it.

Please read through the article and embedded links and think about how some of the issues presented here might affect how you do your job.