The Asscoiation of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), at a meeting of the Collaborative Research Group (CRG), announced new study findings indicating that managed care insurers are denying patients access to oncology clinical trials. Lee E. Mortenson, Executive Director of the ACCC, presented the results of a survey of 856 oncologists in 20 US states to CRG clinical investigators that showed 3, 361 patients were unable to enter clinical trials because of insurer denials. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers in Washington, DC.
Citing the increased difficulty of community-based investigators to conduct trials and accrue patients to cancer research studies, the CRG agreed to vigorously pursue high priority pharmaceut- ical and biotechnology industry studies.
"The ACCC has seen a temendous change in the ability of trial centers to obtain patients for oncology research and these survey results confirm this," said Mr. Mortenson. "As an organization we feel a responsibility to address this issue and create an outreach to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology community through our ACCC sites. Our goal is to encourage innovation and improve the outcomes of care while streamlining the cos t of the clinical trial process at the same time," he added.
Formed in 1991 at the request of ACCC members, the Collaborative Research Group (CRG) acts as a facillitator between pharmaceutical and bio- technology companies and community-based investigators at ACCC sites. There are currently 56 CRG member sites--39 sites are NCI-funded Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOP) or Cooperative Group Outreach Programs (CGOP) and one is a NCI-designated Comprehensive Care Center. During 1994, CRG members placed 2,357 patients on NCI protocols and 1,833 patients on other trials, sponsored by biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
After working with ACCC sites, Robert L. Capizzi, MD, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Clinical Research, U.S. Bioscience said, "Interest in the protocol and commitment in terms of patient enrollment at CRG sites has been rewarding."