Common Misconceptions about Clinical Trials
Misinformation about clinical trials can inhibit participants and researchers alike, particularly in clinical trials conducted on consumer products. This hesitancy may arise from the lack of information most people have about clinical trials, which are often seen as exclusively for pharmaceuticals.
Consumer brands themselves may share some doubts about running clinical trials, due to misconceptions about the time commitments or financial investments required. Addressing these misconceptions can be key to increasing the accessibility of research. We’ve compiled some of the most common misconceptions in order to encourage beauty, skincare, and supplement brands to pursue research.
Clinical Trials are Dangerous for Participants and Brands
Potential clinical trial participants may be deterred by fears of being a “guinea pig” of sorts, and the dangers that they associate with research. These fears can stem from misrepresentation in the media or an association with clinical research as being strictly for those with diagnosed illnesses seeking medical treatment options.
In consumer product research, the idea that clinical trials pose the risk of exposing participants to potential side effects often deters brands from seeking out clinical trials beyond the research required to get their product on the market. Brands may fear their reputation becoming vulnerable to negative research experiences.
However, it is most often the case that increased research encourages brand trust. Clinical research that goes beyond the bare minimum of required safety and efficacy testing demonstrates care for the experience that users will have with your product.
It Is Expensive to Operate Clinical Trials
While certain clinical study models are more expensive to operate than others, it is not true that valid research is out of reach for consumer brands. With a digital CRO in particular, clinical research is much more accessible and cost-effective.
Hybrid or virtual clinical studies offer researchers the opportunity to work with patients in a decentralized format, either taking place entirely or mostly online. This makes modern clinical research much more affordable, as these models enable research organizations to eliminate expenses such as additional staffing for in-person participant enrollment and overhead for research facilities.
Further, there are a wealth of clinical trial models that operate on shorter timelines and may be more suitable for consumer brands than more rigorous options such as double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials. For example, consumer perception studies, which involve gathering user feedback on a product through qualitative questionnaires. These studies often take only a few months to run to completion and generate product claims that can be invaluable for marketing.
Clinical Trials Are Only for Pharmaceuticals
Often, brands can shy away from clinical research as the process is traditionally used for drugs and medical devices -- but it is an important tool for manufacturers and marketers of consumer products. Brands can greatly benefit from clinical trials. Conducting research on new or existing products can enable you to build brand trust, gather consumer feedback on formulas, and generate new marketing materials.
Misconceptions about clinical research can be a barrier both to participating in and conducting studies. This makes research less accessible and discourages consumer brands from pursuing clinical trials. Some of the most common misconceptions include the fear of participants having a bad experience and how this may impact brand reputation, however, this deterrent is highly unlikely and outweighed by the benefits to be gained by research.
Other misconceptions include the perceived financial and time commitments demanded by clinical trials and the idea that clinical trials are not a worthy investment for non-pharmaceutical products. In both cases, modern clinical studies utilizing virtual models can present a cost-effective, timely solution and prove the usefulness of clinical trials for consumer brands.
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