National Survey on Attitudes Towards Clinical Trials

The following results represent feedback from a sample of 1000 Australians around the subject of clinical trials.

In line with the objectives of the research, the results help to provide both an insight into existing perceptions of clinical trials but also how participation may be fostered.

Familiar with term Clinical Trial

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Are you familiar with the term clinical trial? Total
Yes 82.0%
No 6.3%
Not sure 11.7%

Of the entire pool sampled, over 80% are familiar with the term Clinical Trial. Only 6% have not heard of this terminology at all, with the remainder unsure.

Understanding of clinical trials

Word cloud showing common terms that were mentioned by people who completed the survery

The vast majority of people are aware of what a clinical trial is, at very least in principle. There are frequent references to the testing of medication to establish levels of efficacy and safety. The use of placebos vs. medication in controlled environments is also a common reference.

Participation in a clinical trial

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Have you ever taken part in a clinical trial? Total
Yes 9.7%
No 90.3%

Only 10% of people claim to have ever taken part in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials increases with age. 12% of those aged 50 years and over have participated compared to 8% of 18-49 year olds. It is slightly higher among men than women (11% vs. 8%).

Willingness to participate in clinical trials

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all willing and 10 is completely willing, how willing would you be to take part in a clinical trial in future? Total
0 4.8%
1 2.1%
2 2.7%
3 3.1%
4 1.8%
5 17.4%
6 8.8%
7 16.9%
8 13.4%
9 7.4%
10 21.6%

There is a significant willingness to be part of a clinical trial. Whilst the scores that people have applied suggest this might require further investigation with the majority applying between 5 and 8, the highest volume score is a 10. At this end of the scoring people are entirely willing to participate.

The willingness to participate in clinical trials increases with age. 62% of those aged 18-49 gave a score of between 6-10. This rose to 77% for those aged above 50.

The age group most willing to participate are those aged between 70-79 years (84%).
Men are more willing to participate than women (73% vs. 64%).

Motivations to not participate

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Motivations to not participate Total
Scared 8.3%
It's too risky 23.4%
I have allergies / reactions 3.4%
Worried about side effects 19.3%
Worried something could go wrong 3.4%
Would feel like a guinea pig/lab rat 5.5%
Don't want to get sick 5.5%
Don't need to / not sick 4.8%
May consider if I had illness 6.2%
Am primary carer/ have children 3.4%
Don't have the time 3.4%
Have medical issues 5.5%
Don't want to 3.4%

15% of respondents said they would be unwilling to take part in a clinical trial in the future (Scored Q5 0-4).

Nearly a quarter of these respondents think that there is too much risk involved and 1 in 5 are worried about side effects.

Less common reasons included fear, not wanting to get sick and not wanting to be treated like a guinea pig.

Motivations to participate

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following would make you more likely to take part in a clinical trial? Total
If I received a cash incentive 51.1%
If one of my friends or relatives was taking part too 6.5%
If I knew it would help others 52.1%
If it was risk free 55.5%
If I could be sure there would be no serious side effects 65.6%
If it meant I would receive free treatment 35.8%
If the trial had personal relevance to me 64.1%
If a health care professional advised me to take part 44.2%
If I had a better understanding of the individual trial process 33.5%
If I had a better understanding of how safe the trial was for me 55.0%
If I had a better understanding of the regulations for clinical trials 19.4%
If I suffered a serious illness for which there were no treatment options 59.2%
Other (please specify) 1.8%

The key themes for involvement in clinical trials are understandably self-motivated. The main focus is that the trial would not pose any significant threat from side effects. This is again substantiated in the number of people agreeing with statements around safety and risk.

Relevance to the individual is also a key motivator. This extends into their own wellbeing were they to have an illness that had no available treatment and a clinical trial offered a test for their illness.

The next key areas are cash incentives and actually knowing that they are helping other people.

Bottom of the list of reasons to be involved are because somebody else is and due to a lack of understanding of medical regulations.

Perception of clinical trials

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

How much do you agree or disagree with each of the statements Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
Healthy and ill needed in trials 33.2% 43.5% 17.0% 4.8% 1.4%
Clinical trials improve health 34.5% 47.5% 15.0% 2.3% 0.6%
Trials contribute to advancement  44.7% 42.1% 9.7% 2.4% 1.0%
Trials give back to the community 25.8% 46.1% 21.4% 5.1% 1.5%
Trials offer access to new treatments 39.5% 46.7% 10.5% 2.5% 0.7%
Trials give sick a role in their care 33.0% 51.3% 11.7% 3.3% 0.7%
Trials carry risk of serious side effects 12.2% 46.1% 31.4% 9.1% 1.1%
Children can take part in clinical trials 4.1% 20.5% 35.3% 22.7% 17.3%
People in trials are human guinea pigs 4.7% 23.7% 32.4% 29.5% 9.6%
Trial treatments may be no better 13.6% 49.4% 30.3% 5.5% 1.1%
Trials also test behavioral strategy 27.4% 48.2% 21.1% 2.6% 0.6%

For the most part, people agreed with trials providing a positive impact on society and the progress of health. All statements that refer to the progress of medical treatment were agreed with by the majority. The strongest measure in agreement was around contribution to advancement in scientific health.

People also appear to be realistic about expectations; there is agreement around statements that the sick and healthy should be involved and that the results may not necessarily prove a treatment is better.

The big areas of disagreement were that children should be involved in clinical trials but also that people who are, should be considered human guinea pigs.

Sourcing clinical trial information

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

If you were interested in taking part in a clinical trial, where would you go to find out about trials being conducted in your area? Total
GP 47.3%
Local hospital or health care centre 34.2%
Government website 30.1%
Local newspaper 12.2%
Pharmaceutical company 13.7%
Disease support/advocacy group 19.7%
Health consumer organisation 16.1%
Other 4.0%
I don't know 30.3%

People actively seeking information would largely go to their GP, local hospital or government website. All are assumed sources of information for a topic area as serious as clinical trials and expected answers.

However nearly a third of people do not know where they would go suggesting an opportunity for education in this area.

Clinical trial awareness platforms

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

If the Government wanted to raise awareness of clinical trials, how effective do you think the methods below would be at informing you about them? Total Very effective Somewhat effective Neither effective nor ineffective Somewhat ineffective Very ineffective
Clinical Trial website 100.0% 27.4% 44.8% 18.8% 7.6% 1.3%
Health professional 100.0% 44.3% 41.7% 10.5% 3.0% 0.4%
Support groups 100.0% 35.6% 45.2% 14.4% 3.6% 1.1%
Health organisations 100.0% 14.4% 55.2% 23.3% 5.5% 1.6%
TV advertising 100.0% 22.8% 49.4% 17.4% 6.8% 3.5%
Radio advertising 100.0% 9.1% 41.9% 26.8% 16.2% 5.9%
Newspaper advertising 100.0% 9.9% 48.8% 25.7% 11.4% 4.1%
Online advertising 100.0% 7.9% 38.8% 29.6% 17.2% 6.4%
Magazine ads 100.0% 4.0% 35.9% 31.8% 21.7% 6.5%
Direct mail 100.0% 18.3% 45.9% 20.8% 11.7% 3.2%
Media in GP's/ hospitals 100.0% 19.4% 53.9% 19.0% 6.2% 1.5%
Social Media 100.0% 10.0% 32.7% 28.0% 18.5% 10.7%

As with active sourcing of information, communication of clinical trials is likely to be best received via environments that have a perceived credibility within the field of health.

Health and/or support professionals and organisations are top of the list. However a dedicated website for clinical trials could be communicated via other means to generate awareness as the site itself is also seen a strong platform.

Traditional Above the Line advertising is seen as the least credible but Direct Mail for a targeted geography may work well.

Media exposure

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following do you read, watch, listen to or access regularly? Total
Free to air TV 82.9%
Pay TV 25.3%
Radio 54.1%
Daily newspapers 36.4%
Weekend newspapers 43.4%
Health liftouts/supplements in newspapers 18.7%
Magazines 30.3%
Internet 84.4%
Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc) 52.5%
Podcasts 5.7%
Other 1.2%
None of the above 1.3%

Given the size and structure of the sample, media consumption patterns are in line with middle Australia; TV and online dominate overall exposure.

However this should not been seen a simple overlay for a communcations plan around clinical trials. As prior answers suggest, people are required to be in a specific mindset and need the safety of the right context to take any messaging seriously.

How regularly do you visit your health care professional?

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

How regularly do you visit your health care professional? Total
Once a month or more 14.9%
Every two to three months 28.0%
Every four to five months 18.5%
Once or twice a year 27.2%
Less often 11.4%

43% of respondents claim to visit their health care professional at least every two to three months.

Age does impact the frequency of visits somewhat with only 37% of those aged 18-49 year olds visiting with that regularity, compared to 50% of those aged 50+.

Gender

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

What gender are you? Total
Male 50.0%
Female 50.0%

The panel has an even male/female break

Age

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

How old are you? Total
17 years and under 0.0%
18 - 24 years 5.6%
25 - 29 years 7.6%
30 - 34 years 13.4%
35 - 39 years 10.4%
40 - 44 years 12.9%
45 - 49 years 9.5%
50 - 54 years 11.9%
55 - 59 years 8.0%
60 - 69 years 15.2%
70 - 79 years 5.1%
80 years and older 0.4%

State and City

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Where do you live? Total
Sydney 22.3%
Other NSW inc ACT 12.8%
Melbourne 20.4%
Other VIC 7.6%
Brisbane 8.9%
Other QLD 6.3%
Perth 7.5%
Other WA 1.2%
Adelaide 8.4%
Other SA 1.8%
Darwin 0.1%
Other NT 0.3%
Hobart 1.1%
Other TAS 1.3%

Living status

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following best describes your current living status? Total
Living alone 17.6%
Living alone with children 5.7%
Living with parents or family 8.0%
Living with partner 32.1%
Living with partner and children 31.8%
Living with friends / sharing accommodation 4.8%

The majority of the panel live as a couple with or without children. The next biggest group lives alone followed by those who are still living at home with their family, single parents or friends sharing accommodation.

Work status

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following best describes your current work status? Total
Full-time paid worker 43.6%
Part-time paid worker 17.1%
Full-time student 3.9%
Part-time student 0.5%
Unemployed 3.0%
Voluntary worker 1.1%
Full time home duties 10.1%
Carer 0.9%
Retired 16.3%
Other 3.5%

Over half of the panel is working full time or part time, with a further 10% performing a traditional home-duties role. 16% are retired with the remainder being students, unemployed or voluntary workers.

Household income

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following best describes your gross annual household income (i.e. before tax)? Total
Under $20,000 6.6%
$20,000-$29,999 6.4%
$30,000-$39,999 8.1%
$40,000-$49,999 7.4%
$50,000-$59,999 7.8%
$60,000-$69,999 4.9%
$70,000-$79,999 5.3%
$80,000-$89,999 4.8%
$90,000-$99,999 5.6%
$100,000-$109,999 4.8%
$110,000-$119,999 1.8%
$120,000-$129,999 3.7%
$130,000-$139,999 1.7%
$140,000-$149,999 4.4%
$150,000 and over 9.1%
Rather not say 17.6%

The average H/H income for the group is just under $90,000

English as a first language

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Is English your first language? Total
Yes 92.2%
No 7.8%

Second languages spoken at home

Word cloud showing the other languages spoken at home - tabular data follows immediately after image

Table data

Aside from English, what other languages do you speak at home? Total
Italian 2.6%
Greek 1.3%
Cantonese 21.8%
Arabic 0.0%
Vietnamese 6.4%
German 6.4%
Mandarin 11.5%
Spanish 0.0%
Other (please specify) 52.6%

Though English is the first language of the majority of respondents, of those options given there are a large number speaking Mandarin and Cantonese at home.

Over half who said that they also speak another language at home spoke something other than those listed. The dominant languages within this group were Eastern European or Indian.

The following slide outlines these relative focus languages.

insert image

The following slides focus on the 10% of respondents who have participated in clinical trials previously.

Motivations to participate

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

Which of the following would make you more likely to take part in a clinical trial? Total
If I received a cash incentive 52.6%
If one of my friends or relatives was taking part too 9.3%
If I knew it would help others 63.9%
If it was risk free 48.5%
If I could be sure there would be no serious side effects 55.7%
If it meant I would receive free treatment 42.3%
If the trial had personal relevance to me 68.0%
If a health care professional advised me to take part 51.5%
If I had a better understanding of the individual trial process 35.1%
If I had a better understanding of how safe the trial was for me 49.5%
If I had a better understanding of the regulations for clinical trials 24.7%
If I suffered a serious illness for which there were no treatment options 60.8%
Other (please specify) 3.1%

Perception of clinical trials

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

How much do you agree or disagree with each of the statements Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
Healthy and ill needed in trials 54.6% 30.9% 8.2% 5.2% 1.0%
Clinical trials improve health 59.8% 30.9% 4.1% 5.2% 0.0%
Trials contribute to advancement  67.0% 25.8% 6.2% 0.0% 1.0%
Trials give back to the community 46.4% 36.1% 10.3% 5.2% 2.1%
Trials offer access to new treatments 56.7% 33.0% 5.2% 3.1% 2.1%
Trials give sick a role in their care 47.4% 41.2% 7.2% 4.1% 0.0%
Trials carry risk of serious side effects 11.3% 42.3% 33.0% 12.4% 1.0%
Children can take part in clinical trials 9.3% 20.6% 38.1% 22.7% 9.3%
People in trials are human guinea pigs 4.1% 22.7% 23.7% 36.1% 13.4%
Trial treatments may be no better 17.5% 40.2% 33.0% 8.2% 1.0%
Trials also test behavioral strategy 43.3% 42.3% 11.3% 3.1% 0.0%

Sourcing clinical trial information

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

If you were interested in taking part in a clinical trial, where would you go to find out about trials being conducted in your area? Total
GP 50.5%
Local hospital or health care centre 44.3%
Government website 37.1%
Local newspaper 27.8%
Pharmaceutical company 20.6%
Disease support/advocacy group 28.9%
Health consumer organisation 23.7%
Other 6.2%
I don't know 17.5%

Media exposure

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

If the Government wanted to raise awareness of clinical trials, how effective do you think the methods below would be at informing you about them? Total Very effective Somewhat effective Neither effective nor ineffective Somewhat ineffective Very ineffective
Clinical Trial website 100.0% 39.2% 39.2% 17.5% 3.1% 1.0%
Health professional 100.0% 53.6% 33.0% 6.2% 5.2% 2.1%
Support groups 100.0% 42.3% 41.2% 10.3% 4.1% 2.1%
Health organisations 100.0% 27.8% 44.3% 19.6% 5.2% 3.1%
TV advertising 100.0% 24.7% 54.6% 10.3% 6.2% 4.1%
Radio advertising 100.0% 11.3% 46.4% 17.5% 18.6% 6.2%
Newspaper advertising 100.0% 13.4% 44.3% 22.7% 12.4% 7.2%
Online advertising 100.0% 15.5% 36.1% 26.8% 15.5% 6.2%
Magazine ads 100.0% 6.2% 37.1% 30.9% 15.5% 10.3%
Direct mail 100.0% 28.9% 44.3% 15.5% 9.3% 2.1%
Media in GP's/ hospitals 100.0% 34.0% 43.3% 16.5% 4.1% 2.1%
Social Media 100.0% 15.5% 32.0% 26.8% 17.5% 8.2%

Age

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

How old are you? Total
17 years and under 0.0%
18 - 24 years 1.0%
25 - 29 years 7.2%
30 - 34 years 13.4%
35 - 39 years 9.3%
40 - 44 years 11.3%
45 - 49 years 9.3%
50 - 54 years 15.5%
55 - 59 years 7.2%
60 - 69 years 18.6%
70 - 79 years 7.2%
80 years and older 0.0%

Gender

tabular data for this graph immediately follows image

Table data

What gender are you? Total
Male 56.7%
Female 43.3%
Share this Page