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Recruitment and advertising materials – guidance

Recruiting participants into a clinical trial constitutes the initiation of the informed consent process. All recruiting methods and advertising materials must be reviewed by Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDEC) before use.

What 'advertising material' includes

Advertising material is any material that is intended to solicit participation in a clinical trial. This includes television, radio, print (newspapers, bulletin boards, posters, flyers) and digital media (internet advertising and social media).

It does not include basic trial information posted on clinical trial registries.

Clinical trial advertising material

Clinical trial advertising material:

  • should not be coercive or unduly influence individuals to participate and should:
    • avoid statements of heroism or bravado, for example, ‘Help us develop better heart drugs’
    • avoid unduly influential images
    • avoid phrases that might exert pressure, such as ‘Hurry’, ‘Call now’, ‘Enrolment limited’.
  • should not state or imply certainty of a favourable outcome or other benefits beyond what is outlined in the information and consent document and the protocol
  • should not unduly promote compensation or benefits through the size of type used and other visual effects (bold text, different coloured text, animation, exclamation marks, etc)
  • should not claim that the product being studied is safe or effective for the purposes under investigation or is known to be equivalent or superior to any other drug, biologic or device
  • should not use terms such as ‘new treatment’, ‘new medication’ or ‘new drug’ for a product being studied without clarifying the investigation component. (Advertising may indicate the use of an approved product but must include details of the investigation process.)
  • recruiting adults may specify compensation but should not emphasise, for example, by using larger or bold type, the amount to be paid
  • recruiting a paediatric population should not specify compensation.