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PR Works for Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment

As PRWeek reports, public relations can be a cost-effective, powerful and efficient way to recruit patients for a clinical trial. That’s what EnteroMedics found when they hired us for a 7-month project to help accelerate patient recruitment for its EMPOWER Study. EnteroMedics makes an implantable device that delivers VBLOC Therapy to treat obesity.

The company needed to enroll up to 300 patients by August. Beginning in January, our team executed a PR campaign targeted at national media and the 13 U.S. markets with clinical sites. As a result of the PR efforts alone, more than 2000 patients were screened and of those, 9% or 190 were prequalified for the study. The news stories on the study, both on the national and local level significantly boosted awareness and helped to drive inquiries into the website and the call center. For instance, after a front page story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, web hits increased 350% and after a segment on Good Morning America traffic to the site increased 600%.

We’ve been doing this type of work for some time for clients. In fact, one of the first clinical trial recruitment campaigns we executed was for Gynecare (now Ethicon/J&J) for its uterine balloon therapy for menorrhagia. For that campaign, a segment on GMA with the lead clinical investigator stimulated a flood of phone calls to the call center—enough to fill the study. We also managed a patient recruitment campaign in 20 markets for Northstar Neuroscience for its clinical trial of cortical stimulation for stroke and just wrapped a project for client BioMS, helping to recruit patients for a Phase III trial of an experimental Multiple Sclerosis drug, Dirucotide. The goal, achieved in part with our PR assistance—recruit 510 patients for 68 U.S. clinical sites.

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