Seek, Recruit, Select
Millennials will continue to have great impact on clinical trials
Clinical trials are becoming ever more expensive. The return on research and development costs, once as high as 18 percent, is now only 3.7 percent. The full outlay for creating a new drug is now greater than $2.5 billion.
In addition to controlling costs and being prepared for audits, advance planning is also a critical factor for a successful trial. The choice of researchers and site and the careful observance of legal and ethical requirements are essential. But without successful recruitment and retention of subjects, there is no trial.
Sujay Jadhav, writing in Forbes, reports that the millennials now number 75 million and are the largest age segment in the population. As such, they are bound to have a major impact on the clinical trial process, which will be compounded by their ability to accept and use technology.
“I think the most dramatic characteristic of the millennial demographic is their willingness to embrace tech,” says David Blume, managing director of Edgemont Capital. “There is a drive by the pharmaceutical industry as a whole toward the patient centricity, and for millennials technology will be the cornerstone of achieving this,” adds Tim Davis, vice president at Digital Patient Solutions ERT.
Millennials’ embrace of technology makes it nearly certain that trials will become more decentralized with fewer visits to a trial site because of greater use of remote sensors.
Aside from technology, millennials are widely believed to be more open to cooperation and teamwork than others. As researchers, this could make them more flexible and innovative; as subjects they may be more interested in actively participating. Simply accumulating data will not be sufficient. Millennial subjects will want to know the results, as these apply to both themselves and the study, and be free to share this knowledge with others.
Jane Shen, Pharm.D., of PMG Research, says, “You will probably see more decentralized and remote trials, which will dramatically impact how the research is being conducted.” Shen adds that trial managers should “provide real-time data that matters to patients, and foster the connection within their core community, such as their providers, family and caregivers.”
There are drawbacks for millennials in clinical trials. Since they are young, they are often free of the chronic medical conditions that many new drugs undergoing testing are designed to treat. As a group they are also less trusting and more likely to drop out of a trial than are older people. One study found that 53 percent of millennial subjects called their experience “somewhat stressful.”
As we would expect, the ideal place to locate and recruit millennial subjects is on social media. Then they will consult multiple online sources to check out the opportunity.