The role of print advertising in clinical trial recruitment: Lessons from a South African site
Lesley J Burgess, Nicky U Sulzer
TREAD Research/Cardiology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Tygerberg Hospital and Stellenbosch University, Parow, South Africa
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of print advertising in our setting in enrolling patients into a study and whether the associated costs are justified.
Methods: This study was carried out by TREAD Research, based within an academic hospital in the Western Cape, South Africa, between January 2006 and June 2007. Newspaper advertising was used as a means of patient recruitment during this period. All advertisements published were summarized according to the total number of advertisements placed, patient response, and the number of patients enrolled compared to the number of patients enrolled from other recruitment methods.
Results: A total of 53 print advertisements were placed over an 18-month period, with a response rate of 1,009 calls. The highest number of responses on average was received in response to the T2DM (type II diabetes mellitus) advertisements (41.2%). Print advertising contributed more than 75% of the total number of patients randomized by the site. Apart from one study, print advertising contributed the majority of patients compared with other recruitment methods. The estimated cost of these print advertisements was ZAR 229,482.00 (USD 30,597.60), whereas the estimated income from the patients randomized from these advertisements was ZAR 4,534, 933.00 (USD 604,657.73).
Conclusion: Print advertising, in this setting, was shown to be an expensive but highly effective recruitment method in comparison with other recruitment methods (550% yield). Its effectiveness is, however, dependent on therapeutic area and patient population.
Keywords: print advertising, recruitment, costs, patient enrollment
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