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Clinical Trials Awareness Week Highlights Need for Federal Awareness Campaign

by Amanda Conschafter, blog editor

Each year, Clinical Trials Awareness Week brings together patients, health care providers, researchers and industry to celebrate the value of clinical research. It also allows these groups to reflect on the challenges that clinical trials face, particularly low enrollment. This year, the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness (CCTA) has introduced two new resources to help policymakers address the enrollment problem. The organization released a white board video outlining how a federally sponsored awareness campaign could boost clinical trials enrollment, along with a campaign model illustrating how the awareness message might convey to video, media and social networks.

In “The Awareness Solution,” CCTA recalls the federal government’s use of awareness campaigns to address public health priorities in decades past – from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s campaign to encourage polio research to the federal government’s Donate Life initiative in the 1990s urging Americans to register as organ donors. (A 2015 white paper from CCTA explores the topic in greater detail.) The video also outlines the value that a similar campaign would have on raising public interest in clinical trials.

Beyond simply advocating for an awareness campaign, CCTA also delineates what such a campaign might look like. CCTA’s campaign model includes a mock public service announcement, mock advertisements designed for magazines and subway stations, and sample social media messages. Under the tagline “For all the people in your life,” the campaign model focuses on the widespread value of clinical trials – all can participate; all can benefit.

CCTA argued the value of such a campaign last year in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee’s Chairman Fred Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette. The coalition, of which the Alliance for Patient Access is a member, called robust clinical trials “a societal imperative.” The House version of the 21st Century Cures Act passed in July 2015, while a Senate companion bill continues to take shape. The concept of a federally sponsored awareness campaign has not been adopted thus far.

CCTA, along with other Clinical Trials Awareness Week sponsors and participants, will engage in a Twitter chat Thursday, May 5 at Noon EDT to explore issues and policy related to clinical trials. Interested parties can join using the hashtag #CTAW2016.

To learn more about the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness, visit CCTAwareness.org.

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