Multiple Financial Barriers Impede Patient Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials, According to New ASCO Policy Statement

Recommended Path Forward Includes Steps to Address Payer Coverage for Clinical Trial Costs and Lack of Patient Support, Data, and Transparency

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ASCO issued a set of recommendations for overcoming financial barriers to patient participation in cancer clinical trials. The policy statement stresses the importance of increasing participation in clinical research, especially for patients from particular ethnic, racial, geographic, age, socioeconomic, and other underserved demographic subgroups.

Addressing financial barriers will help improve the enrollment rate and the efficiency, quality, and applicability of cancer research.
— Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO

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“Clinical trials are essential for evaluating the safety and efficacy of new cancer treatments, but cancer researchers have seen consistently low patient participation levels—especially among underserved patient populations—in part due to the financial burdens facing many patients with cancer,” said ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO. “Addressing financial barriers will help improve the enrollment rate and the efficiency, quality, and applicability of cancer research. By including more—and more diverse—participants in our research studies, we expand our ability to care for all patients.”

ASCO Recommendations

ASCO outlines a series of recommendations that are designed to address multiple financial barriers that impede access to clinical trials, including patient costs that aren’t covered consistently by health insurance; a lack of information provided to patients about clinical trial costs; and limited available research data on financial hardship that patients might incur by participating in clinical trials.

“Continued progress against cancer depends on improving patient access to participation in clinical research. The recommendations in ASCO’s statement aim to ensure that no patient is denied access to a clinical trial for financial reasons and that patients are not harmed financially because of their contributions to advancing science,” said Dr. Bertagnolli. “Ultimately, this is about strengthening the nation’s cancer research enterprise, as a whole.”

Read the full policy statement.

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