Article Text

What the public knows and wants to know about medicines research and development: a survey of the general public in six European countries
  1. Suzanne Parsons1,
  2. Bella Starling1,
  3. Christine Mullan-Jensen2,
  4. Su-Gwan Tham3,
  5. Kay Warner4,
  6. Kim Wever5,
  7. on behalf of the Needs Assessment work package of the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) Project
  1. 1Public Programmes Team, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Public Health Evidence and Insights, Global Public Affairs, Novo Nordisk, A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  4. 4Focus on the Patient, Medical Platforms UK, GlaxoSmithKline, London, UK
  5. 5Department of Research and International Affairs, Dutch Genetic Alliance (VSOP), Soest, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Suzanne Parsons; suzanne.parsons{at}


Objectives To explore public knowledge of, and interest in, learning more about medicines R&D in six European countries.

Design Online survey of 6931 members of the public across Europe.

Methods The survey formed part of a public omnibus survey. A quota sampling approach was used with quotas set according to national census data on age, gender and government region. The survey explored the public's knowledge and awareness of medicines R&D, their interest in learning more and the perceived influences on this.

Results The survey was completed by 6931 members of the public, over 75% of whom reported having no or less than good knowledge of medicines R&D. Males were more likely than females to report good knowledge (17% vs 15%), and knowledge appeared to decrease with age. Those who were currently or had previously been involved in medical research were almost five times more likely to report good knowledge of medicines R&D overall (43% vs 13%). Participants reported good knowledge of medicines safety and clinical trials but little knowledge of pharmacoeconomics. They were most interested in learning more about medicines safety and personalised and predictive medicine and least interested in pharmacoeconomics. Older people, women and respondents with current good knowledge of medicines R&D were most interested in learning more about medicines R&D.

Conclusions Experience of medical research appears to play a key role in increasing public awareness of and future interest in medicines R&D. Some groups may need to be specifically targeted to increase their awareness of medicines R&D, for example, women expressed great interest in learning more but reported less knowledge than men. It may be useful to explore further the views of those who are currently uninterested in learning more.

  • Research methods

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