Background: This study explored self-reported knowledge and willingness to learn more about medicines research, development and health technology assessment among Finnish general public. It also aimed to define possible knowledge gaps and needs for public education regarding medicines research, development as well as health technology assessment.
This questionnaire was originally developed as a part of the Needs Assessment Work Package of the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) Project. The questionnaire was translated from English to Finnish and the survey was carried out in Finland in 2019.
Methods: The survey was conducted as an online survey by Kantar TNS Gallup Forum online panel. The data was analyzed by using the freely available R program. Relationships between the demographic characteristics (such as age, gender and education level) of respondents and their knowledge or interest in medicines research and development were determined using Pearson’s chi-squared tests.
Results: Of the 503 respondents (age 16-64) only 12% reported having good or very good knowledge of medicines research and development in general. Regarding health technology assessment, pharmacoeconomics and regulation, the percentage of respondents reporting good or very good knowledge was as low as 8%.
Respondents were most interested in learning more about predictive and personalised medicine (47 %) and least interested in medicines regulation (30%) and pharmacoeconomics (31%). Those who had participated in a clinical trial had better knowledge and were significantly more interested in learning more about several aspects of medicines research, development and health technology assessment.
Conclusions: Self-reported knowledge about medicines research and development and health technology assessment appears to be very low in Finland. Patient and public participation is recognized as an important and essential element in up-to-date medical research and assessment of new treatments. In order to participate as an active and equal partner in these processes, the public needs more information and education in these topics.