Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market

Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market (3rd Edition), 2022-2035

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Due to several factors, such as steady rise in global clinical trials, demand for highly specific study participants, and complex inclusion-exclusion criteria, and the challenges associated with enrolling patients in modern clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly using the services of dedicated patient recruitment firms.

-- Chief Operations Officer, Israel-based Small-sized Patient Recruitment Firm

Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Overview

The global clinical trial patient recruitment services market was valued at USD 9.4 billion in 2022; it is estimated to grow at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% during the forecast period. Clinical trials form an integral part of the overall drug development process, enabling the necessary evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a drug candidate. As these trials are prone to delays, and can even fail altogether, they impose an immense financial pressure on sponsors.

Studies suggest that around 40% of the total investment made for the development of a drug candidate is dedicated to clinical trials. However, the conduct of such trials is often fraught with challenges, including scientific and operational complexity, concerns associated with recruitment and retention of suitable patients, issues related to data handling and increasingly stringent regulatory guidelines.

Further, owing to the inherent complexity of the overall process and involvement of several different stakeholders, these trials are prone to delays. It is worth mentioning that around 80% of the clinical trials are delayed due to insufficient patient recruitment. Further, retaining patients is also a major concern in pharmaceutical research and development; 15% to 40% of the enrolled patients drop out before the studies are completed, significantly impacting product approvals / launch timelines. Therefore, patient outreach, recruitment and retention strategies have evolved significantly, especially with the availability of a variety of digital data generation, management and marketing solutions. In fact, a number of modern technology-enabled offerings are now available to support various aspects of clinical research and patient recruitment.

The image highlights context of cinical trial patient recruitment services market report. Owing to the growing number of clinical trials and complexities associated with patient enrollment, drug developers are increasingly relying on patient recruitment service providers to expediate the drug development timelines This image provides a list of patient recruitment companies that provide a range of patient recruitment services such as patient recruitment, patient retention and patient enrolment The infographic provides insights on the location of patient recruitment companies / service providers. The current market landscape is highly fragmented, featuring the presence of both new entrants and established players across key geographical regions

Key Market Insights

The Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market (3rd Edition), 2022-2035: Distribution by Therapeutic Area (Cardiovascular Diseases, Oncological Disorders, Infectious Diseases, CNS Disorders, Respiratory Disorders, Hematological Disorders, Dermatological Disorders, Ophthalmic Disorders and Others), Patient Recruitment Step (Pre-screening and Screening), Trial Phase (Phase I, Phase II, Phase III and Phase IV) and Key Geographies (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa and Rest of the World report features an extensive study of the current market size and future market growth of the clinical trial recruitment market, over the forecast period. The research report also features an in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various clinical trial recruitment companies engaged in this field. Amongst other elements, the market report analyzes the patient recruitment market from the perspective of drug developers, patient recruitment organizations and investors.

Global Market Landscape: Patient Recruitment Services

Amongst several known challenges, patient recruitment is considered to be one of the rate limiting steps when it comes to getting drugs to the market. Presently, more than 155 companies have the required capabilities to offer patient recruitment and retention services across different geographical locations. Such clinical trial recruitment companies employ a variety of outreach methods and, over time, have attained a vital role in the successful conduct of clinical research. Further, several contract service providers are entering into strategic alliances in order to enhance their respective capabilities and offer an expanded portfolio of services to their clients. One such example is the collaboration of Trialbee and Worldwide Clinical Trials. The two companies announced their partnership in May 2021, which was aimed at faster patient recruitment and bringing down the cost of drug development for their clients. 

The patient recruitment companies are also continuously expanding their portfolio. In addition to the patient enrollment service that targets biopharmaceutical industry, some companies also offer clinical trial matching services. Such services are targeted towards the patients and / or their physicians, allowing the aware and interested patients to find the right clinical trials for which they are eligible. Some clinical trial recruitment companies like Antidote and Foundation Medicine offer clinical trial matching services.

Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market Size

The patient recruitment services market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% over the forecast period of this market report. Owing to the need for large and diverse patient populations, phase III trials are anticipated to be responsible for the maximum share of revenues within this industry. Currently, in terms of therapeutic area, the market is captured by patient recruitment projects for trials evaluating drugs intended for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders. However, this trend is likely to change in the foreseen future with the rising clinical trials focusing on therapeutics targeting oncological disorders. Specifically, in terms of geography, the clinical trial patient recruitment services market in Asia Pacific is likely to grow at a relatively faster pace during the forecast period. 

Outsourcing, A Popular Operating Model in Patient Recruitment

Several small and mid-sized players do not have dedicated patient enrolment teams and lack the necessary capabilities / expertise to successfully recruit desired number of patients in clinical trials. In some cases, the clinical studies are too large or geographically broad to be managed by internal staff. Further, the stringent ethical and regulatory guidelines associated with patient enrollment in trials impose a significant burden on drug developers. As a result, outsourcing has become a popular operating model with regards to patient recruitment and patient retention; several specialty clinical trial recruitment companies, with expertise and experience in this domain, are driving the market growth of this upcoming segment of the healthcare market. The advantages of engaging contract service providers are numerous and enable sponsors to meet their clinical research timelines and thereby, launch respective offerings as planned. 

Recent Trends: Growing Use of Social Media Platforms for Patient Recruitment

Over the past decade, the patient recruitment industry has witnessed tremendous increase in the use of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter, and mobile applications for engaging and recruiting patients in clinical studies; these approaches are cost-effective and can be used to connect with diverse and hard-to-reach patient populations. In pursuit of capability and competence improvements, several service providers have also begun adopting and implementing modern technical strategies, such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Real-World Evidence (RWE) for patient enrolment; these novel methods tend to be more efficient and yield a narrow pool of potentially eligible participants for targeted mailings. As patient recruitment companies evaluate novel technologies to improve the success rate of patient enrolment and more drug developers outsource the recruitment operations, the global market size for patient recruitment services will continue to witness growth during the forecast period.

The image highlights patient recruitment market landscape. Most of the companies offer pre-screening of the potential study candidates and protocol development services to their clients; providing study-branded amenities is the most popular patient retention strategy This image provides competitive analysis of clinical trial recruitment companies. In order to gain a competitive edge and cater to the requirements of the clients, firms are actively improving their capabilities and enhancing their respective service portfolios The image highlights that rising clinical research activity, specifically focused on rare and complex disease indications, is anticipated to create lucrative business opportunities for patient recruitment and retention service providers

Trials for Orphan Drugs and Personalized Therapies Challenge the Clinical Trial Recruitment Companies

The primary challenge faced by patient recruitment and retention service providers is the lack of awareness amongst individuals regarding the clinical studies and the benefits offered to study participants. Further, pharmaceutical companies do not allocate adequate budget for carrying out the patient enrolment process. Specifically for clinical trials evaluating orphan drugs and personalized therapies, finding the specialized pool of eligible patients is a burdensome and costly task. During our research we came across more than 55 clinical trial recruitment companies who are offering services for rare diseases / personalized therapies. 

Other challenges in this domain include fear of individuals about the adverse events associated with clinical trials, lack of communication between study participants and researchers due to language barrier, and large geographical distance between the patient’s residence and study site, which affect the participation and retention of patients in research studies. 

Market Drivers for Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market

Owing to rise in the number of clinical trials that seek to enroll millions of patients, and complexities associated with patient accrual, drug developers are likely to outsource the patient recruitment and retention process to service providers. The number of clinical trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov has increased exponentially from around 2,000 studies in the year 2000 to more than 400,000 trials in 2022 (as of July 31). The increase in the number of trials justifies the rise in the number of trial participants to be enrolled, which became prominent during the COVID-19 vaccine trials as they were large multi-centre and multi-country trials. 

Moreover, we believe that increase in clinical development activity in emerging markets, availability of one-stop patient recruitment service providers, and stringent regulations related to patient enrollment are likely to provide further impetus to the market size for patient recruitment services.

Recent Developments in Patient Recruitment and Patient Retention

Several recent developments have taken place in the field of patient recruitment and patient retention. We have outlined some of these recent initiatives below. These developments, even if they took place post the release of our market report, substantiate the overall market trends that have been outlined in our analysis.

  • In August 2023, Ripple Science announced the appointment of Mike Stratton as the vice president of business development to augment the company’s patient recruitment technology platform. 
  • In July 2023, TrialWire™ received the Citeline Best Patient-facing Technology Initiative 2023 award. The company’s proprietary technology platform enables recruiters to identify and enroll patients across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 
  • In June 2023, Syneos Health entered into a technology development agreement with uMotif to develop and deploy a novel patient centric platform offering multiple solutions, including patient recruitment, patient engagement, and retention.

Scope of the Report

Global Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market:  Relevant Segmentations and insights

Report Segments Data points

Forecast Period

2022 – 2035

Base Year 2022
Market Size 2022 $9.4 billion
CAGR 8.2%

Patient Recruitment Step

Pre-screening, Screening

Trial Phase

Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4

Therapeutic Area

Cardiovascular Diseases, Oncological Disorders, Infectious Diseases, CNS Disorders, Respiratory Disorders, Hematological Disorders, Dermatological Disorders, Ophthalmic Disorders, Others

Key Geographies

North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, MENA, Latin America, Rest of the World

The Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Services Market report features an in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various stakeholders engaged in this domain. Amongst other elements, the report features: 

  • A general overview of the clinical trials, featuring information on the different phases of clinical trials and their importance. The chapter also lays emphasis on patient recruitment process, its associated challenges and the different recruitment strategies used to enhance patient enrolment in clinical research studies. It also presents information on the affiliated ethical considerations and outsourcing activity in this industry. Further, it features an elaborate discussion on the various patient recruitment services offered by contract service providers as well as the patient retention strategies employed to prevent drop-out of enrolled individuals from clinical trials.
  • A brief information on the various types of patient outreach methods used by patient recruitment companies, to identify and enroll patients in clinical trials. Further, the chapter highlights the various advantages and limitations of these outreach methods.
  • A detailed assessment of the overall landscape of clinical trial recruitment companies, along with the information on several relevant parameters, such as year of establishment, company size (in terms of number of employees), location of headquarters, patient recruitment and retention services offered, patient outreach methods (social media outreach, traditional media outreach, directly approaching individual patients, leveraging proprietary patient databases, exploiting patient communities and advocacy groups, engaging local enrolment specialists, using digital advertising solutions, organizing large scale events / campaigns and exploiting real world data sources), number of patient outreach methods (less than 3 methods, 3 to 6 methods and more than 6 methods), patient recruitment associated service(s) offered (pre-screening potential study participants, study feasibility / protocol development, site identification and selection, project management, site management, IRB/EC submission, core CRO services, clinical monitoring, web development solutions, clinical trial data management, real-time enquiry / information support and investigator grant management), number of patient recruitment associated service(s) offered (less than 3 associated services, 3 to 6 associated services and more than 6 associated services), patient retention method(s) used (dedicated patient engagement solutions, offering study-branded amenities / education materials and offering transportation (to site) support), number of patient retention method(s) used (less than 2 methods, 2 to 5 methods and more than 5 methods), geographical reach (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World), therapeutic expertise (respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, healthy volunteers, cardiovascular disorders, central nervous system and mental health disorders, metabolic disorders, dermatological disorders, oncological disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, ophthalmic disorders, medical devices, rare diseases / personalized therapies and others). The chapter also covers details on the payment model, patient recruitment platforms / technologies used and the various certifications / accreditations awarded by regulatory bodies.
  • A detailed competitiveness analysis of patient recruitment companies and retention service providers, taking into consideration supplier strength (based on their experience in this field) and service strength (based on number of patient outreach methods, number of patient recruitment associated service(s) offered, number of patient retention method(s) used, geographical reach and therapeutic expertise).
  • Elaborate profiles of prominent patient recruitment organizations (shortlisted based on a proprietary criterion) offering patient recruitment services, across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World. Each profile features a brief overview of the company, along with details related to its patient recruitment and retention service portfolio, recent developments and an informed future outlook.
  • An insightful analysis of the recent collaborations within the clinical trial patient recruitment market, based on several relevant parameters, such as year of partnership, type of partnership (acquisitions, joint ventures, mergers, patient recruitment agreements, service alliances, technology development agreements, technology licensing agreements and others), focus area (clinical trial management, patient recruitment and patient retention), therapeutic area (autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disorders, CNS disorders, dermatological disorders, metabolic disorders, oncological disorders, pain, rare diseases, respiratory disorders,  and others), most active players (in terms of number of deals inked) and regional distribution of partnership activity that have been undertaken in the global patient recruitment market, during the period 2013-2022.
  • A review of the emerging trends in the clinical trial patient recruitment market, including the use of social media, mobile technologies, electronic health records (EHR), real-world evidence (RWE) and artificial intelligence, to overcome the challenges associated with patient enrolment and retention.
  • A detailed discussion on the key growth opportunities (such as rise in the number of clinical trials, development of personalized medicines / orphan drugs, growing opportunities in emerging markets, increasing preference for one-stop solutions, stringent regulations related to patient enrollment and technological advancements in clinical trial conduct) in the field of patient recruitment and retention that are likely to impact the evolution of the market over the forecast period.
  • A case study on regulatory landscape of patient recruitment, highlighting the regulatory process involved in patient enrollment, along with the information on regulatory guidelines, regulatory framework for patient recruitment, ethics committees in different countries and documents reviewed by the ethics committees.
  • A brief overview of patient recruitment in clinical trials focused on personalized medicines and rare diseases, highlighting the key challenges in patient enrollment, specialized patient outreach methods being used to recruit and the key companies engaged in this field.
  • A detailed analysis of the annual demand for study participants, taking into account the target patient population in ongoing and planned clinical trials, sponsored by both industry and non-industry players.
  • A detailed assessment on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the clinical trial patient recruitment market. In addition, it features various strategies that different clinical trial recruitment companies adopted in order to mitigate the challenges associated with patient enrollment faced during the global crisis.
This image provides a view on the global demand for participants. By 2035, around 21 million patients are expected to be enrolled in clinical trials This infographic highlights clinical trial patient recruitment market size. The market is expected to grow at a steady rate till 2035; the projected opportunity is likely to be well distributed across different steps in the patient recruitment process, trial phase and therapeutic area The image provides insights from the interviews held with key stakeholders in patient recruitment companies. North America is likely to capture majority share in the patient recruitment market

One of the key objectives of the market report was to evaluate the current opportunity and the future growth potential of the clinical trial patient recruitment services market over the forecast period. We have provided an informed estimate on the likely evolution of the market in the short to mid-term and long term, for the period 2022-2035. The report also features a likely distribution of the current and forecasted opportunity across important parameters, such as [A] patient recruitment steps (pre-screening and screening), [B] trial phase (phase I, phase II, phase III and phase IV), [C] therapeutic area (cardiovascular disorders, oncological disorders, infectious diseases, CNS disorders, respiratory disorders, haematological disorders, metabolic disorders, dermatological disorders, ophthalmic disorders and others) and [D] key geographies (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and Rest of the World). 

In order to account for future uncertainties and to add robustness to our model, we have provided three market forecast scenarios, namely conservative, base and optimistic scenarios, representing different tracks of the industry’s growth.

All actual figures have been sourced and analyzed from publicly available information forums and primary research discussions. Financial figures mentioned in this report are in USD, unless otherwise specified. 

The opinions and insights presented in this market report were also influenced by discussions held with senior stakeholders in the industry. The research report features detailed transcripts of interviews held with the following individuals:

  • Founder and Director, Small Company, US
  • Chief Executive Officer and Founder, and Marketing and Communications Manager, Mid-sized Company, UK
  • Co-founder and Managing Director, Small Company, Netherlands
  • Chief Commercial Officer, Mid-sized Company, Germany
  • Chief Commercial Officer, Mid-sized Company, US
  • Chief Operation Officer and Business Development Officer, Small Company, Israel
  • Ex-Managing Director, Very Large Company, US
  • Inside Sales Specialist, Very Large Company, US

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is patient recruitment service?

Answer: In the past, pharmaceutical companies have often relied on the expertise of specialty patient recruitment firms to enroll study participants in various types of clinical trials. 

Question 2: What is the benefit of outsourcing patient recruitment?

Answer: The outsourcing of patient recruitment, which is a crucial aspect of trial conduct, has been shown to not only expedite the overall clinical research process, but also improve chances of success.

Question 3: What is the cost of patient recruitment in clinical trials?

Answer: Patient recruitment is estimated to be responsible for about 40% of the overall expenses incurred while conducting a clinical trial.

Question 4: Why is it hard to recruit patients for clinical trials?

Answer: There is a lack of awareness amongst individuals regarding ongoing clinical studies and the benefits offered to study participants. Also, finding the specialized set of patients for the rising number of targeted therapies as well as for rare diseases makes the recruitment process challenging.

Question 5: What is the market size of global patient recruitment and retention services market?

Answer: The global clinical trial patient recruitment services market was valued at USD 9 billion in 2022.

Question 6: What is the clinical trial patient recruitment services market growth?

Answer: The global clinical trial patient recruitment market is estimated to grow at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% during the forecast period.

Question 7: Who are the key clinical trial recruitment companies?

Answer: Examples of key players engaged in the patient recruitment market for clinical trials (which have also been captured in this report) include 3H Medi Solution, BBK Worldwide, BuzzReach, Clariness, Continuum Clinical, Current Medical Information Center, Ignite Data, Innovative Trials, IQVIA, One Research, Orphan Research, nRollmed, Trialfacts, United BioSource and WCG ThreeWire.

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