By Tina Caruana, MSc, MBA, Medrio Subject Matter Expert – eClinical Solutions (Digital & Decentralized Trials)
Clinical trials are expensive. It takes an enormous investment of time and money to bring a product through research and development to the market. One of the most significant expenditures is participant enrollment, which makes up 40% of a clinical trial budget  – and a huge driver of that cost is participant attrition. Across all therapeutic areas, roughly 19% of participants in clinical trials drop out  , and the average cost to recruit a new patient if one is lost is $2,273 . Together, these factors greatly increase study timelines and inflate research costs.
And, it is only getting worse. The participant retention issue, and its corresponding cost issue, appear to be escalating. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reports that participant dropout rates increased by nearly 25% from 2012 to 2019 . When participant retention is not addressed, studies need to recruit additional participants and extend trial timelines, leading ultimately to budget overruns.