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Digital Pharma: Raising awareness of clinical trials

Published on 20/10/09 at 03:11pm
Dominic Tyer

Contract research organisation Quintiles has launched a website for people considering participating in clinical trials.

The company hopes Clinicalresearch.com will raise awareness of clinical trials and how they work, and ultimately persuade more people to participate in the process by making it easier to find a nearby trial for their condition.

Quintiles' senior VP of communications and patient recruitment David Comen said the company is "ultimately looking to do the right thing for the patient".

Outlining the situation faced not just by Quintiles, but by the industry as a whole, Comen explained that 75% of the world has little to no understanding of clinical research and only 8-10% have been approached to participate in a trial.

He hoped the new site will improve those figures, and said that to boost awareness of its initiative Quintiles will be looking to social media sites.

To this end the company's Twitter account has already been used for a one-off tweet, but its full plans have yet to be fleshed out.

However, what the company does want to do is build on the experiences gained from iGuard, its US-focused online community that allows patients to share feedback on the medications they're taking.

There, Comen said, Quintiles saw first-hand the valuable role word-of-mouth plays among patients and the company will be looking to tap into this approach for the new site.

Another strand of the company's awareness-raising plans includes working with patient organisations and it is actively looking to create online alliances to promote the site.

Although sponsored - and run - by Quintiles, trial information is included on the site irrespective of sponsor or CRO involved. All the information comes the US National Institutes of Health's comprehensive clinicaltrials.gov site, which Quintiles says it checks every 24 hours to ensure its own site is as up to date as possible.

Quintiles is also looking at other trial registeries - both pharma and government initiatives - to see how they could be incorporated into clinicalresearch.com to make it more comprehensive.

The initiative adds to its existing sites that do serve to promote its own trials - sites such as areyoutheanswer.com, which looks to attract volunteers to the phase I trials run at its research unit in Guy's hospital, London.

Clinicaltrials.com adds to these by avoiding the dry, technical feel of clinicaltrials.gov and providing a user-friendly experience - I thought the use of Google Maps to pinpoint trials was a nice touch.

Ultimately it should provide strong branding for the company and a useful service for the public.

 

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and InPharm.com and the author of the Digital Pharma blog. He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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