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Rules of engagement: Navigating around traps when recruiting for clinical trials via social media

Pharma has a chance at redefining its relationship to the public, allowing for direct interaction with potential clinical trial participants via social media. But what’s the risk?

By Urtė Fultinavičiūtė, Clinical Trials Arena

Due to the swift action of the pharmaceutical industry to develop vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19, its reputation among the public reached all time high favourable reviews. Public confidence towards the sector last year was at 62%, double to what it was before the pandemic, notes Rob Jekielek, managing director of market research company Harris Poll.

While the pharma industry’s score has since dropped by 15 points to 47% as the world focuses on other global events, there’s still opportunity to mine this reputational rise to benefit clinical trial progress.

While there was reluctance to enroll into clinical trials, the public now understand the importance of participation, explains Ignacio Guerrero-Ros, PhD, account supervisor at healthcare public relations firm Russo Partners. Indeed, due to the pandemic, the industry has a once-in-generation opportunity to redefine its relationship with the public, adds Shahar Silbershatz, CEO of corporate reputation management Group Caliber.

Which begs the question: what can the clinical trial industry do to capitalise on the public’s confidence, as well as maintaining it at a relatively buoyant level? We look at the perks and risks at engaging with the public via social media specifically for recruitment, and the pros and cons of managing a company’s own PR needs in-house rather than outsourcing them. Read more …