FMR Global Health is an international primary market research, working across borders with healthcare and life science companies. Primary market research, in this continuously growing industry, is exceedingly important because it can reveal industry trends and help forecast market growth. But conducting research internationally presents unique challenges. One of the most critical and challenging aspects is recruitment.

What is Recruitment in Primary Market Research?

Recruitment in primary market research refers to the process of identifying and selecting participants for research studies. By selecting specific participants, market researchers can gather specific types of valuable insights. These insights can be attitudes and behaviors, but also preferences of patients, healthcare professionals, and many other types of stakeholders.

Recruitment in Primary Market Research
Recruitment in p
rimary market research involves several important steps that need to be followed carefully. The most important steps include identifying the target population, developing a recruitment plan, contacting potential participants, screening them for eligibility, obtaining informed consent, and providing incentives. Within this process, several people are involved.


  • A project manager who keeps oversight of the recruitment and data collection process and safeguards GDPR guidelines
  • The client who provides validation on the target profiles to be recruited and the research team to ensure that the process is in line with study objectives 
  • A recruiter, who is responsible for identifying eligible participants and developing a timely recruitment plan.

Challenges within Recruitment in Primary Market Research for Target Groups

Recruiting target groups can be quite a challenging process, which may include finding participants who meet the eligibility criteria, ensuring that the sample is representative, and motivating participants to participate in the market research study. 

It’s also very important to remember that regulatory requirements and ethical considerations can sometimes put a damper on things. Therefore, the project manager must ensure that these requirements are adhered to and closely monitored.

Despite various challenges, effective recruitment is critical. Hence, FMR Global Health provides several examples of the reasons why certain target groups are recruited and the challenges that come with it.


Patients are most often recruited at FMR Global Health, particularly in studies related to treatment satisfaction, disease management, and/or medication adherence. Patients can provide valuable insights into their experiences with different treatments and healthcare providers, as well as their preferences and priorities when managing their health.

For example, a global pharmaceutical company, recently conducted a primary market research study to evaluate the effectiveness of a new asthma medication. The study aimed to recruit patients with severe asthma who were currently receiving standard treatment but still experiencing symptoms.

When recruiting patients, it’s extremely important to consider cultural differences and language barriers. For example, certain health conditions may be stigmatized or viewed differently in different countries, which can impact patients’ willingness to participate in research.

Language barriers can also pose an immense challenge, as research materials and surveys need to be translated into multiple languages to ensure that all participants can provide informed consent and complete the research tasks accurately.

Healthcare professionals

Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and any other healthcare professionals can be recruited for research studies. These studies can be related to new medical devices, products, and services coming to the market, or already existing products.

Healthcare professionals can often provide valuable insights into their experiences with different treatments, medical devices, and healthcare delivery models. Very interesting are often their preferences and priorities when it comes to patient care and the use of products and services.

Recruiting healthcare professionals for international market research requires careful consideration of international regulatory requirements and cultural differences, as well as other challenges. Healthcare professionals often have busy schedules, which can make it difficult to recruit them for research studies.

Additionally, certain medical practices and regulations can vary widely between countries, and healthcare professionals may have different levels of education and training depending on their location. Cultural differences can also play a significant role in how healthcare professionals work and behave when it comes to patient care, which can all impact the research findings.

Key opinion leaders (KOLs)

KOLs are experts in a particular therapeutic area. They are often consulted for their insights and opinions on new treatments, research, and industry trends. Interestingly, they can well inform about their perspectives on the potential impact of new products and services. Recruiting this target group is challenging, as individuals often have extremely busy schedules and they may be located in different countries and time zones. 

A success story of recruiting KOLs is one of Novartis. Novartis conducted primary market research to better understand the current landscape of treatment options for patients with advanced kidney cancer. As part of this research, they aimed to recruit KOLs in the field of urologic oncology who had experience in treating patients with advanced kidney cancer.

To identify potential KOLs, Novartis used a variety of sources, including medical publications, conference proceedings, and online forums. They also reached out to medical associations and advocacy groups to gather recommendations for potential KOLs. Through this study, Novartis was able to gain insights from KOLs on the current treatment landscape for advanced kidney cancer, including challenges and unmet needs.

FMR Global Health’s recruitment of KOLs is similar and finding the most relevant KOLs is our specialty. FMR Global Health believes in the importance of establishing strong relationships and communication channels to ensure that the research objectives are clearly understood and that the research is conducted in a way that is respectful of the KOL’s time and expertise.

Due to this, FMR Global Health has been able to recruit hard-to-reach targets on various occasions over the last 35 years.


Payors, such as insurance companies and government agencies, can be recruited for research studies related to healthcare policies, pricing, and reimbursement. They can inform about the factors that impact their decisions when it comes to coverage and reimbursement for medical products and services, as well as the trends and challenges facing their industry.

Pfizer conducted primary market research to better understand the perspectives and needs of payors related to a new medication for a rare disease. Pfizer used a variety of sources, including payor directories and public databases of healthcare payor organizations, to identify potential payors. They also reached out to professional organizations for payors, such as the National Association of Medicaid Directors, to gather recommendations for potential participants.

Through this study, Pfizer was able to gain insights from payors on the value proposition and potential market uptake of their new medication, as well as potential barriers to coverage and reimbursement. These insights informed their pricing and access strategies, ultimately leading to better outcomes for patients with rare diseases.

It’s important to consider that regulatory requirements and cultural differences can heavily impact payors’ perspectives and decision-making processes. For example, the factors that influence payor decisions in one country may be different from those in another country, and certain regulations may impact the way that payors interact with healthcare providers and patients.

Language barriers may also be a challenge, as payors may use industry-specific terminology and jargon that may need to be more easily understood by researchers or other participants.


FMR Global Health has faced unique challenges in conducting research for 35+ years across borders with healthcare and life science companies. Recruitment of target groups, such as patients, healthcare professionals, KOLs, and payors, is a critical aspect of international primary market research that requires careful consideration of the research objectives, cultural differences, and regulatory requirements.

Effective recruitment can provide valuable insights into industry trends, patient and healthcare provider perspectives, and inform product development and marketing strategies.

Despite various challenges, FMR Global Health’s expertise in establishing strong relationships and communication channels has allowed them to successfully recruit hard-to-reach targets over the last 35 years.

Related Read: The Ultimate Guide to Estimating the Potential of a New Product Amongst its Prescribers