Federal regulators have caught on to a growing trend of clinical trials asking participants to pay to enroll; Canada's main pharmaceutical lobby group is asking the government to respond to US drug importation plans before Canada experiences drug shortages; with more HIV incidence than any other region, the South is turning to telemedicine to treat people living with the infection.
Pay-to-Play Clinical Trials Catch Federal Attention
Over the past year, more clinical trials have incorporated a funding mechanism in which participants are asked to pay to participate. According to STAT News
, one trial planned to ask participants to pay about $7000 to enroll and another wanted to ask for as much as $250,000. Federal regulators have caught on to the growing trend, with the FDA asking a federal advisory committee to consider how the research community should think about such trials. The panel is currently drafting recommendations on the issue. The National Institutes of Health have also become aware and asked the committee to consider whether its existing resources to guide patients considering a clinical trial are sufficient for such trials.
Canada’s Drug Industry Urges Government to Act on US Drug Import Plan
Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), the country’s main pharmaceutical lobby group, is urging the government to take action and respond to the United States’ plan to import drugs from Canada before there are drug shortages. In talking points prepared by the group last month, before the Trump administration announced their importation plan, IMC proposed that the Canadian government ban all drug exports, “unless otherwise permitted by regulation,” reported Reuters
. When asked about the possibility of an export ban, IMC said in a statement that it is not part of their current positioning and that they believe the government has the means to prevent drug shortages.
HIV Provider Shortages in the South
The South has more HIV hotspots than any other region in the country, with the 16-state region experiencing 19,968 new cases of HIV in 2017. With these high rates of infection and a lack of new providers entering the field, HIV providers in the region are finding themselves overwhelmed with patients, according to Stateline
. As a result of the HIV provider shortage, practices in the South are turning to telemedicine to offer care for people living with HIV. Through a videoconference, HIV providers can listen to the heart of a patient 50 miles away through Bluetooth headphone equipment as a nurse checks their vital signs.