Why Don’t Patients Enroll?

According to RDP Clinical Outsourcing, pharmaceutical companies and trial sites need to think more strategically about recruitment. Almost 80% of clinical trials are delayed, with 20% being delayed for 6 months or more.

There are a number of reasons why more patients don’t enroll in clinical research studies:

  • They are simply not aware of trials for which they may be eligible
  • They want to be more involved in decision making
  • They do not believe the benefits will outweigh the risks and inconveniences of participating
  • They do not want to be randomized
  • They are concerned about side effects

According to surveys of patients who chose to participate in clinical research, almost half said they did so because they hoped to benefit directly. Almost a third cited their doctor’s influence as the primary reason for enrolling in a trial, and about 18% said they were motivated by a desire to help others. Interestingly, in surveys asking why patients chose not to participate, 14% of respondents identified physician influence as the primary reason they did not enroll.

Possible strategies for boosting the rate of participation include:

  • Conducting more research to better understand patients’ motivations, and the differences between patients who enroll and those who do not
  • Better communication between physicians and patients about clinical trials – more patient education, less emphasis on accrual goals
  • More patient-centric thinking on the part of investigators, sponsors and CROs
  • More effective use of e-recruitment methods and social media to connect with patients outside the context of a specific trial
  • Use of recruitment consultants/specialists

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