Clinical trials are critical to the development of the medical diagnosis, prevention, and treatment advances that have helped improve the quality and length of people’s lives. Declining consumer participation in clinical trials could jeopardize medical advances.

Services to maintain the well being of individuals participating in a clinical trial often are necessary, although they are not part of the costs of gathering data for a trial. Patients seeking to improve their health should be provided every opportunity to fight their illness, including the option to enroll in a clinical trial without losing their normal health plan benefits. While there is a range of barriers, lack of reimbursement for routine, ancillary costs of clinical trials is a primary obstacle in clinical trial recruitment and retention.

Since its inception, SWHR has advocated for the inclusion of an adequate number of women in clinical trials and the analysis of the resultant data by sex. Thus, to encourage greater participation of women in clinical trials, SWHR supports policies to overcome financial barriers to participation.

Public Policy Recommendation

The Society for Women’s Health Research supports legislation that would require health plans and insurers to provide coverage for routine patient care costs associated with participation in approved clinical trials. Because health insurance reform has focused on incremental reform during the last few years, SWHR also would support a meaningful first step toward this coverage.