Is that clinical trial doc getting pharma money? Patients want to know
- According to a new survey of multiple sclerosis patients, 87% of those who had never participated in a clinical trial believed that a doctor should disclose any payments from biopharma sponsors. Among those who had participated in a clinical trial, 75% felt the same way.
- In addition, 79% said that it was important to know if a pharma company that was sponsoring a study would be paying a physician or contributing to his/her remuneration.
- The survey results (reported by WSJ's Ed Silverman) was recently published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal and polled a total of 597 people who suffer from the illness.
Trust is the overriding issue for many of these patients, as concerns about conflict of interest are related to what the investigators' primary goal/intentions are. The authors of the study noted that in academic medical centers, payments from drug company-sponsors may actually be used to subsidize research infrastructure and have a larger institutional benefit. Nonetheless, part of the money may also end up going to individual researchers.
The authors have concluded that patients are focused on the details when it comes to participating in clinical trials. Moreover, the authors recommend uniform disclosure guidelines, including full disclosure of any financial connections between clinical trial investigators and drug company-sponsors.