More US Residents Participate In Paid Clinical Trials As Economy Weakens

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Research centers across the U.S. and those familiar with the prescription drug industry say that, as the U.S. economy weakens, more people are seeking to participate in paid clinical trials of new drugs, the AP/Boston Globe reports. Kenneth Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, said over the past several years, declining interest among U.S. residents to participate in drug studies led some drug developers to conduct trials in other countries, such as India and China.

Ken Getz, founder of the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation, said there already is evidence that the outsourcing trend is reversing, particularly for early-phase trials, and the recession and changes to the regulatory process have helped start the reversal.

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According to the AP/Globe, clinical trials can pay participants "upward of thousands of dollars in exchange for a few weekends or more committed to testing new drugs." Steve Peck, director of operations at Nebraska-based Qualia Clinical Services, said the pool of potential participants also has become more diverse, and the company's database of participants has nearly doubled from 9,000 one year ago to about 16,000 currently.

The AP/Globe reports that as a result of the weakening economy, there also has been an increase in plasma donations. According to John Penrod, vice president of the Source division of the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, plasma donations topped 15 million in 2007, up from 10 million in 2005. Penrod said that reasons for the increase trend vary by region but noted the importance of compensation in generating enough of a plasma supply for worldwide use (Ortiz, AP/Boston Globe, 1/5).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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