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Why you must understand the pricing of patient recruitment companies

Recruiting a diverse range of patients and engaging with them for your clinical trial isn’t an easy task, which means you might turn to patient recruitment companies, like us, who can help. But using their services is going to cost you money. So, naturally, one of your first thoughts will be “what’s my return on investment going to be?”, and we understand that. Honestly we do.

It’s time to talk about this and go deeper into the pricing of these services that you might rely on for help. There are two reasons we should talk about this, and these are the same two reasons we hope you’ll take away with you after reading this:

  • To realise the work that goes into these services, and why that effort is needed
  • To address the imbalance of recruitment in clinical trials

Realise the effort and why it’s needed

Good patient recruitment companies, like us, want the best for your study, we are in this industry because we want to make a difference to society for a positive reason.

So, our services will always have the patients in mind. We’ll go to great lengths to gain patient insights, build trusting relationships within different communities, create new platforms and materials to focus on recruiting a diverse range of people, and the list goes on.

But why is that effort needed? Well, it’s not easy to reach a diverse range of patients, and there are many longstanding barriers to overcome to truly improve the lack of diversity in clinical trials.

Besides having the patients in mind, good patient recruitment companies will also be thinking of ways to maximise spend for patient recruitment, to make sure that you get the best possible return on investment.

So, is it fair for patient recruitment companies to not be reimbursed for their overall efforts or the work that they’ve performed, but instead only be reimbursed for the number of patients that are randomised?

I don’t think so - but maybe that's not the point.

I was at a conference recently and one of the discussions from the CEO of a patient recruitment company (not me – honestly!) was about how they are only getting paid for every patient that is randomised, we were then asked to step in to their shoes — why should they go through all of that hard work, time and effort, to engage with those ‘harder-to-reach’ patients, if they’re not going to be paid for their efforts?


I understand their situation, we need to change the industry, the industry needs proof that we can impact representation in clinical trials positively, BUT… WE HAVE TO ALL TRY HARDER and we can only fix this issue if we work hard at improving diversity and proving value to the industry.

Lack of diversity in clinical trials is a huge problem in the industry for a number of reasons, and many patients are missing out on the opportunity on potentially life-changing treatments.

I am determined to improve the lack of diversity in clinical trials — that passion, drive, and work ethic comes as standard within me and every single person within COUCH Health and its reflected within our services.

And you might be thinking “so what?”. Well, that leads on to the second reason behind this blog.

Address the imbalance of recruitment

This model of reimbursement encourages companies to focus on the number of patients, rather than the quality of patients.

As a result, this could mean that the lack of diversity gets worse. With a focus on numbers rather than quality, the effort will be lessened, populations who are “harder” to recruit won’t be reached, and ultimately, the imbalance of recruitment won’t be addressed.

To improve the diversity of recruitment in clinical trials, the reimbursement model for patient recruitment services needs to be considered. And only when big pharma comes to terms with this truth, will the lack of diversity and imbalance of recruitment in clinical trials be truly addressed.

If you’re looking for help with your patient recruitment and retention, here at COUCH Health we have passion and determination to improve diverse recruitment in clinical trials. Take a look around our website at or reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to help.

This blog was originally published here.

2nd March 2021



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COUCH Health

+44 (0) 330 995 0656

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Suite 2.10, Jactin House
24 Hood Street
M4 6WX
United Kingdom

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