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2 Deterrents to Clinical Trial Participation

Participants are key to clinical research, and without a good understanding of what stops people from joining trials, it can be difficult to successfully promote study opportunities. As a consumer brand, it is important to understand the barriers potential participants face and the tactics that both you and any CRO you work with can use to address them.

Today we unpack two of the most common reasons people choose not to join clinical trials, even across lower commitment study models such as consumer perception studies.

1. Perceived Time Commitment

Many people avoid clinical trial participation because they fear the time it will take to be involved. This is particularly salient in traditional, centralized clinical trials where travel to a lab or research facility may be necessary.

How You Can Address It:

With the rise of digital CROs and virtual or hybrid trial models, this may be less of a concern. Highlight the lower time commitment, flexibility, and lack of travel involved in virtual clinical trials. Further, consumer products tend to involve fewer check-ins and shorter timelines overall than pharmaceutical trials, on which many people will base their knowledge of clinical trials.

2. Compensation

Potential participants often give discouraging feedback that they feel compensation for trials is too little. This can be disheartening, particularly when trials involve minimal time commitments as discussed above, but there are ways to encourage patient enrollment without upping the ante of your compensation.

How You Can Address It:

If you offer compensation for participation, it can be helpful to present it to participants as a “thank you gift” for participation rather than strictly as payment. This works best for low-commitment studies, and helps remind your referral that they are participating in important research for the sake of furthering medicine and potentially improving their own wellness, not just for financial reward.

Additionally, opt for a universal gift card option that more participants will be able to enjoy, rather than a voucher for your own product. While this may be tempting participants are less likely to be tempted by this before they have used your product.

Want to create your own clinical trial?

Citruslabs provides a simple and affordable way to prove that your products actually work. At Citruslabs, we design a clinical trial that is right for you and your budget, so that you can start sharing research-backed product claims without spending a fortune. We offer the cohesive planning and management required to conduct successful clinical trials, from start to finish. Ready to get started? Let's talk! You can contact us here.


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