A worrying new report indicates that the poor just aren't bothering with clinical trials, which could be skewing results for critical new drugs.
An alarming new report has found that poor people who have cancer are not taking part in critical trials, potentially skewing the results for important new drugs.
The study, which included mostly white women under 65, included 1,200 adult patients who had been diagnosed with breast, lung, or colorectal cancer, found that those whose wages were below average were much less likely to be part of a clinical trial, according to a US News report.
Those who had household income of less than $50,000 per year were a whopping 32 percent less likely than those with higher incomes to participate, and the results get even worse as the household income decreases: just 11 percent of those with household incomes of less than $20,000 per year volunteered to be in a clinical trial.
This is a significant problem facing the medical community. Clinical trial treatments are usually the newest available treatments, and they should be available to those with all income levels.
But more importantly, it could skew the results for important new drugs. Health is actually linked to the amount of income someone has, studies have found, and therefore clinical trials that don’t have poor people participating aren’t likely to get the most accurate results.
In addition, if more poor people were to participate, it might speed up the clinical trial process and therefore get promising new drugs to the public more quickly.
The findings were published recently in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The purpose of a clinical trial, which are essentially small or wide scale experiments done on human patients, is to help with clinical research and the development of new treatments. Patients who opt in are given the treatment and then medical experts note the safety and the efficacy of the treatment, taking special care to take note of any side effects or any signs of improvement. Many times, those who participate in a clinical trial are at an advanced stage in the disease and thus are more willing to try riskier treatments.
Clinical trials can vary greatly in size and cost depending on what phase the development of the treatment is in. It begins with smaller pilot studies before progressing to more comprehensive studies.