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The case for patient recruitment outsourcing

by WilliamJohanna

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When the time for clinical trials of new drug applications (NDAs) comes, pharmaceutical companies must recruit sufficient number of participants for the exercise. Recruiting participants for clinical trials is not an easy task. Many companies therefore hire patient recruitment consultants to recruit patients on their behalf. Patient recruitment outsourcing is still a new concept and not surprisingly, many people are still skeptical about it. When however the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing are weighed, there seems to be a very strong case for outsourcing patient recruitment.


Drug companies have good reasons for hiring patient recruitment consultants. To start with, most firms don't know how best to recruit patients for their clinical trials because their core competencies are in developing and manufacturing drugs. Pharmaceutical companies typically don't have personnel experienced in patient recruitment. Companies run into hardships if they try to recruit patients on their own. A patient recruitment specialist firm on the other hand has within its ranks people with a lot of experience in patient recruitment. Since this is their specialty they are capable of handling recruitment without too many problems.


It's also worth appreciating that patient recruitment takes time. A lot of man hours will be spent before all the required patients are enrolled. Even if a company had the skill to do it on its own, it would end up diverting important human resources away from its key functions which will be counterproductive. It is thus more economical to pay a patient recruitment specialist firm to do the job while the company busies itself with other preparations for the clinical trials.


A company will save a lot of time and money through outsourcing even though it has to pay a fee for the service. In clinical trials, is important to proceed with speed and keep within the given timelines. Failure to meet these timelines results in losses that often run into millions of dollars. Should a company that doesn't have adequate patient recruitment resources choose to go it alone, there is a high likelihood that it will run into unforeseen snags like patients dropping out of the study midway. A clinical trial plagued by such problems will take much longer and hence the launch of the drug will be delayed. The company might even be forced to cancel the trial at some point and start all over again. This, it goes without saying, will cost it a lot of money.


A patient recruitment specialist firm develops extensive ties with clinicians, patients, support groups and other organizations - doing this makes patient recruitment very easy for it. Drug companies don't have similar connections. Through patient recruitment outsourcing, pharmaceutical companies benefit from the specialist's extensive networks.


The question of objectivity and bias also comes up every now and then when drug companies are conducting clinical trials. Drug companies are supposed to be as objective as possible when subjecting their NDAs to scientific testing. Letting a patient recruitment specialist screen and select participants is a good way of ensuring objectivity in the clinical trial. If a company recruits its own patients and then proceeds with the trial, there is a risk of it manipulating the process to produce results favorable to it. Certainly nothing can stop a company from deliberately selecting patients with particular characteristics knowing that they will produce a certain outcome. Outsourcing therefore helps safeguard against such biases.




Clinical List America is the leading patient recruitment company in the United States offering targeted patient recruitment for clinical trials and other medical research. Click the link to learn how you can benefit from targeted patient recruitment services

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