SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

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February 09, 2017 08:13 ET

Pharma Companies Use Social Media to Attract Patients for Clinical Trials

57% of Surveyed CROs and 33% of Pharmaceutical and Device Firms Use Social Media Tactics

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - February 09, 2017) - A study of clinical development teams reveals that 57% of surveyed contract research organizations (CROs) and only 33% of pharmaceutical and medical device firms incorporate social media platforms into clinical trial patient recruitment strategy.

The study, Clinical Outsourcing: Leverage Sponsor-CRO Relationships to Accelerate Trial Timelines, published by industry research firm Cutting Edge Information, found that the most popular digital platforms used by both CROs and other life sciences firms include Facebook, Twitter, and company-specific platforms. Additionally, 86% of pharmaceutical and device teams and 43% of CROs surveyed report using Facebook and Twitter for patient recruitment. More CROs (57%), however, report using company-specific platforms compared to pharmaceutical and device teams (43%), according to the study's data. A comparably smaller percentage of surveyed life sciences teams may implement banner ads or other patient recruitment strategies across video sites, such as YouTube (29%), or professional networks, such as LinkedIn (14%).

"Digitally based strategies require clinical teams to think and act like marketers," said Jason Richardson, chief executive officer and president at Cutting Edge Information. "Because many clinical teams do not have that type of expertise on staff, it is important for clinical teams to contract with a vendor that can manage this steady stream of metrics."

Despite the benefits that digital channels may pose, 67% of surveyed pharmaceutical and device companies and 43% of CROs do not currently incorporate social media into their existing recruitment strategies. The high rate of non-use in pharmaceutical and device firms may owe in part to insufficient in-house expertise.

On average, Top 10 and Top 50 pharmaceutical companies and their affiliates outsource 70% of their web-based activities to CROs, according to the study. Surveyed clinical teams at small pharmaceutical companies may also outsource most, if not all, of their web-based patient recruitment. These specialty vendors and patient recruitment organizations (PROs) are trained to maximize advanced metrics, such as clicks per dollar and referrals per dollar, to ensure that digital media campaigns run efficiently.

Clinical Outsourcing: Leverage Sponsor-CRO Relationships to Accelerate Trial Timelines, available at, guides clinical executives through clinical outsourcing partnerships and planning. Report highlights include:

  • Metrics detailing clinical trial activities from pharmaceutical, device, CRO and site perspectives
  • Data on surveyed teams' vendor selection process and preferred collaboration type (master services agreement versus functional service provider)
  • Best practice recommendations and projected costs associated with selected patient recruitment activities
  • Profiles of 17 pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and CRO-managed clinical trials, including overall trial costs, number of enrolled patients and sites and clinical team size

For more information about clinical outsourcing practices, please download the brochure report at:

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