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A Surprise Package

As global healthcare grapples with the problem of medication adherence, C Everett Koop’s famous observation has become a familiar retort: “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them”. The same concept applies in clinical trials; they are often unsuccessful when patients do not comply with their medication regimes. Furthermore, if the cost of recruiting patients to studies is high, the price of failing to keep them there is even higher.

Yet, despite long-standing efforts to ensure that patients remain engaged and motivated through the duration of studies, subject attrition is the norm as opposed to the exception. Research shows that these rates are commonly between 15-20% and can sometimes even exceed 30%. The factors that influence study dropouts are varied, but largely predictable. Despite this, one significant barrier to recruiting patients is often overlooked: the label.

The importance of labeling in clinical trials gets very little exposure. However, as the war for patients intensifies in an increasingly competitive trial market, pharmaceutical companies are slowly discovering that the packaging of their products can be a key determinant of keeping patients.

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*This article is taken from International Clinical Trials February 2017, pages 48-50. © Samedan Ltd