Expanding Patient Engagement and Patient Centricity in Clinical Trials in China


Writing in the September 2023 edition of DIA’s Global Forum magazine, Shuting Li of Anhui Jimin Cancer Hospital and Xinfang Fan of Bayer Health Care Ltd. examine how Chinese clinical trials are increasingly focusing on patient engagement and patient centricity.


In recent years, with the Chinese government’s vigorous support and all-round promotion for innovative drugs, more than 3,000 clinical trials with investigational drugs have been conducted annually. In this context, patient engagement has become increasingly important, and how to keep patients informed of progress in drug development and actively participating in clinical trials has become a hot topic in the pharmaceutical industry.


A recent survey conducted by a Chinese R&D clinical research organization among patients, their families, and investigators in China focused mainly on “the understanding of clinical trials,” “the channel to get information about clinical trials,” “the difficulty of patient enrollment,” and “how to initiate clinical trials quickly.” The survey contained eleven (11) single-choice questions and five (5) multiple-choice questions and received 5,832 total responses. Eighty-one percent of the patient-respondents knew about clinical trials, indicating broad public awareness of this concept. However, 37 percent of these same patient-respondents were unwilling to participate in clinical trials due to their concerns about the risk of investigational drugs; 67.2 percent of the physician-respondents also believed that patients were afraid of participating in the clinical trials for safety reasons. Insight into the underlying causes of patients’ unwillingness to participate in clinical trials is essential for improving patient engagement.


Another company has found an avenue into understanding patient engagement by conducting patient interviews, in an early phase of a trial for an investigational drug, in members of the target population who have no clinical trial experience in China. While not intended for publication, these interviews have helped this company identify the feasibility of trial conduct in terms of timing and environment that are suitable for potential trial participants, and to identify key differences in disease awareness and recognition between patients in China and in other countries. The results of these interviews have helped guide this company’s China study team to modify their clinical development strategy in China.


Read the full article on the DIA Global Forum website here

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