Incentive Problem in Cancer Drug Trials
I saw this brief New York Times article syndicated in the San Jose Mercury News. Evidently, one of the challenges in identifying new cancer treatments is recruiting enough patients for drug trials. The issue is that oncologists have little incentive to encourage their patients to enroll in drug trials.
Evidently, 60% to 80% of an oncologist’s revenues come from providing chemotherapy. When a patient enrolls in a trial, his doctor loses that revenue. As Scott Schaefer recently posted, the evidence is pretty clear that doctors respond to financial incentives. Result: a dearth of volunteers. So here’s an idea. Let’s pay a significant finder’s fee to oncologists that refer patients to trials. You could even start a “charity” to do this.