Drug trials may cost less than companies claim, study suggests

Conducting clinical trials for new drugs may not be as expensive as the pharma industry purports, according to a new analysis published in BMJ Open.

Pharma companies often use expensive development costs to explain high drug prices, but the analysis suggests that one key part of the development process, clinical testing, requires relatively modest figures.

Researchers gathered information on 101 new medications approved by the FDA from 2015-17 and found the median amount of money spent on clinical trials to be $48 million per drug. Their examination of the 225 trials conducted on these drugs revealed the median cost of a trial is $19 million, which comes out to about $41,400 per patient.

Researchers noted that the two factors that contribute most to the cost of clinical trials are the amounts of patients and clinic visits involved.

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