Europeans Give Fresh Insight on Attitudes to Drug Development

April 14, 2015
Philip Ward

Philip Ward is ACT's European editor, phone +44 1244 538583, philipward1@btconnect.com

Applied Clinical Trials

Researchers at the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) have published new data about public knowledge of, and interest in, the process of medicines R&D.

Researchers at the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) have published new data about public knowledge of, and interest in, the process of medicines R&D. The study, which is part of the wider European Patients Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) project, is thought to be the largest peer-reviewed survey of its kind.

The data, published in BMJ Open, are segmented by type of medicines R&D (e.g. safety, clinical trials, patients’ roles), demographics, country, and level of previous experience in the subject area. The aim of the research is to improve communications with the public.

“We need better studies to answer more relevant questions more efficiently and faster,” said Dr. Lode Dewulf, Chief Patient Affairs Officer at UCB, a partner in the project. “Collaboration between study sponsors and (future and experienced) study participants is needed for this. But we often lack the required understanding to have such collaboration for all studies. Thus, this survey and its findings greatly contribute to the understanding we need.”

A key finding of the research, led by Bella Starling, Director of Public Programmes at CMFT, and Kay Warner, Focus on the Patient Manager at GlaxoSmithKline, is that those who had previous experience of medical research were almost five times more likely to report having good or very good knowledge of drug development. People also indicated that they are keen to learn more, particularly about medicines safety (50%) and personalized and predictive medicine (47%). The group surveyed almost 7000 people across Europe.

“We are all potential patents,” said Kathy Oliver, Co-Chair of EUPATI’s Project Advisory Board and Chair of the International Brain Tumour Alliance. “This possibility emphasizes the crucial need for the general public to really understand the numerous stages of medicines development and realize the complex processes that take place before a medicine is available for general use."

The survey reveals that over 75% of respondents had no or less than good knowledge about medicines research, according to Suzanne Parsons, Health Researcher at Manchester. Previous studies have focused on public interest in clinical research, but this is the first time that medicines research has been looked at as a whole, she added.
 

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