Most Americans believe clinical research is safe

Two-thirds of Americans believe that clinical research is safe for people who participate in them, according to a survey by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and Opinion Dynamics Corp. (ODC).

But most respondents said they would have more confidence about clinical research if results were published on a public web site or registry.

The nationwide survey asked 1,000 adults about their attitudes about the research process. The survey was conducted in December after national media reports of problems with medications such as COX2 inhibitors and antidepressants.

When asked, "In general, how safe do you think clinical trials or studies are for people who participate?" 17% said studies were "very safe," while 49% said "somewhat safe." Ten percent chose "not very safe," 5% "not safe at all," and 18% were not sure.

A second question asked, "The federal government is requesting that all organizations conducting clinical research trials or studies report the results on a public web site. Would this increase your trust in information received from clinical research professionals?"

A total of 57% said such a reporting program would increase their trust "a lot" or "somewhat," while a total of 35% said "not very much" or "not at all." Eight percent were unsure.

Most of those surveyed — 87% — had never been asked to participate in a clinical study themselves.

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation is an independent nonprofit organization started in 2003 to educate the public and policy-makers about clinical research participation. ODC does market research, polling, and consulting for health care and other industries.

This survey is the first in a planned series of polls CISCRP and ODC are undertaking to increase understanding of the public’s views about clinical research.

For more information, visit the organization’s web site, which can be accessed at either www.ciscrp.org or www.smartparticipant.org.