Mass Marketing Drives up Clinical Trial Costs; Internet Targeting is Untapped Territory for Patient Recruitment

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The untapped terrain of the Internet is one of the last places pharmaceutical companies turn to when recruiting patients for clinical trials, according to Experian Research Services. Limiting patient recruitment to mass media channels such as radio, television and direct mail isn't reaching targeted consumers in time. Nearly 80 percent of all clinical trials fail to meet their patient enrollment deadlines. As a result, delays continue to rise along with the demand to find patients for specialized testing. The answer might be as simple as the Internet.

The untapped terrain of the Internet is one of the last places pharmaceutical companies turn to when recruiting patients for clinical trials, according to Experian Research Services. (Learn how to use Internet recruitment: http://contact.venteinc.com)

The consumer research company further concluded that limiting patient recruitment to mass media channels such as radio, television and direct mail, isn't reaching targeted consumers in time. Nearly 80 percent of all clinical trials fail to meet their patient enrollment deadlines. As a result, delays continue to rise along with the demand to find patients for specialized testing. The need to find a resolution quickly is costing some pharmaceutical companies a staggering $8 million each day a drug is delayed in trial.

The answer might be as simple as the Internet. Few survey Web platforms provide a one-to-one recruitment tool with lead generation turnaround as soon as 72-hours in some cases. The biggest benefit for patient recruitment companies is that every dollar spent is targeted at patients who are already participating in a permission-based survey system, receptive to e-mail communication and who suffer from specific aliments. Watch video about Internet recruitment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogmWRA3haK8.

So, why aren't industry insiders lining-up to pluck this low-hanging fruit and curb patient recruitment costs? According to Chris Wilson, president of Experian Research Services, it all comes down to top of mind marketing. "When pharmaceutical companies think about patient recruitment they think about investing the bulk of their budget into traditional marketing channels like radio, television and direct mail," he explained. "These traditional forms of marketing are still relevant; however, they need to be supplemented early on with targeted recruitment via the Internet."

Wilson added that drug companies wait too long to recruit more patients, typically after their deadlines have passed. "Instead, pharmaceutical companies should integrate the Internet into their patient recruitment plan during the beginning phases, not after it's too late. Too late is when the meter starts costing companies $600,000 to $8 million in revenue for each day a drug is delayed in clinical trials," explained Wilson.

Experian isn't the only media company to point to the Internet as a solution.

Direct Marketing Association research shows that e-mail marketing is generating an ROI of $57.25 for every dollar spent, outperforming all other direct marketing channels.

Cutting Edge Information, a business intelligence firm providing pharmaceutical research, reported that the most successful trial teams prevent recruitment delays by incorporating web-based recruitment in their initial trial protocols and strategic plans.

Business Insights released a report June 2007 stating that the Internet is an important tool to recruit both patients and physicians, but remains under-utilized throughout the US, Europe and Japan. Moreover the article said that clinical research continues to migrate from the U.S. and Western Europe to cut-rate offshore locations. The leading Contract Research Organizations and many pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis now have an established presence in India, China and Eastern Europe.

Retaining specialized media partners is one way patient enrollment companies can keep clinical trial testing in the U.S. and lower recruitment costs. Companies like Experian Research Services use online platforms to convert real-time lead generation within 72-hours and provide targeted sample lists for multiple marketing approaches including online, telephone and direct mail campaigns.

For patients with a specific ailment, Experian Research Services can go out and find them. "The Vente proprietary online survey platform is used to collect detailed consumer health and demographic data, according to Wilson. "Because of our online survey program, we can develop custom questions, collect data and send targeted e-mail invitations very quickly." For example Diabetic Nephropathy is a highly specialized ailment. We developed the survey questions, collected responses and generated 125 referrals in 30 days for the client," said Wilson.

Patient Recruitment Survey: http://www.surveynetworks.com/survey.cfm?pggrpid=2129&prL=1

Experian Research Services attracts more than 1 million visitors each month to their online platforms; of those, half of a million participate in more than 25 different surveys; and of these 200,000 are new consumers. "We are able to search their consumer database and match patient profiles that meet the specifications of the clinical trial," said Wilson. "These individuals, who are suffering from diabetes or any health-related matters, want to be heard. Emotional motivation kicks in and keeps consumers engaged. More than 85 percent of U.S. patients research their conditions on the Internet, creating an accessible and motivated pool of potential trial study patients," said Wilson.

Experian Research Services houses information on more than 35 million consumers and offers detailed demographic data on 6,000 descriptive variables like interests, hobbies, purchase intentions and ailments. Information is collected through permission-based online survey platforms and matches consumer data against Simmons National Consumer Survey, one of the oldest and most respected authorities on the behavior of the American consumer.

Clinical Trial performance results:
•Migraine study - 400 referrals in 28 days
•Diabetes 2 study - 300 visitors to pre - screener, 100 referrals in 3 days
•Highly specialized diabetic ailment - 125 referrals in 30 days
•ADD/ADHD - 400 referrals in 45 days
•Migraine study open for six months - 9501 migraine sufferers from participating sites to the client's online screener

Experian Research Services is the largest, permission-based consumer database which uses an online survey instrument to collect detailed, comprehensive data on consumers. This information and the survey "event" are used to connect clients with targeted consumers (http://www.venteinc.com).

For more information, send a request to http://contact.venteinc.com.

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