Europe Puts Renewed Emphasis on Patient Communication

As pair of initiatives show, the clinical trials community in Europe is working harder to get its message across to its key partner: patients.
Apr 01, 2014

The clinical trials community in Europe is working ever harder to get its message across to its key partner: patients. The second workshop of the European Patients' Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI), entitled "Reaching a Public Audience on Medicines Development," was held in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this month. In addition, the BBC has released a free video about the risks and ethical aspects of clinical trials.

The EUPATI workshop has been designed to draw on the group's social research work involving patients and citizens across Europe, as well as to hear views from patient advocates and the public and to provide details about successful examples of information sharing. EUPATI is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), and aims to provide scientifically reliable, objective, and comprehensive information to patients on clinical research. The consortium's goal is to increase the capabilities of well-informed patients and patient organizations to be effective advocates in clinical research.

In a separate initiative, trial organizers have participated in a video that should help reassure patients after continued fallout from the 2006 clinical trial disaster involving six healthy volunteers at Northwick Park Hospital in London. In the incident, volunteers were treated for organ failure after experiencing a serious reaction within hours of taking the anti-inflammatory drug, TGN1412.

Such incidents are unlikely to happen again, according to experts quoted in a BBC article published last year. Things have changed, they said, since the release of the Duff Report, which was written in response to the Northwick Park trial. Among the changes is the U.K.'s Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) now ensures that ethics committees look at preclinical data to decide whether the first dose given to humans is the right dose.

The BBC video begins with a news report about the Northwick Park disaster, before discussing the clinical trial process. To view the video, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/clinical-trials-regulation-and-ethics/1465.html