News Briefs: Americans doubtful about safety of clinical trials

A new Harris Interactive survey finds that only one-third of all adults nationwide are very confident that patients in clinical trials receive very good medical care. The survey says about one-quarter of adults are very confident that new treatments are tested on humans only after there is valid evidence that the treatments are likely to be effective and safe.

The nationwide survey was conducted on-line between Feb. 21 and 27 with a sample of 2,031 adults ages 18 and older. The survey also found that 83% of all adults believe it is "essential" or "very important" that "all new prescription drugs or other new treatments should be tested on human beings in clinical trials before they are approved for general use." African-Americans and Hispanics tended to be most skeptical of the safety and effectiveness of treatments that patients received during clinical trials. The Harris survey results suggest that a major educational campaign is necessary because the need for clinical trial participants is likely to grow rapidly as more, and bigger, trials are planned in the future. For more information, see the health care news section of t