Biopharmaceutical companies were conducting more than 9,000 clinical trials in the U.S. in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted trial operations with broad travel restrictions and concerns about patient safety and investigative site capacity.
Many clinical trials that required repeated, in-person visits to a clinic or trial site were delayed or halted. But some researchers forged ahead, combining novel tactics like mailing medications and relying on digital technologies such as transmitting photos of home-based blood pressure readings via text message to conduct trials remotely.
This pandemic-driven shift to digital clinical trials — which many advocates say is long overdue — may prove to be a game changer in biopharma development by personalizing and strengthening patient engagement, accelerating recruitment, improving patient diversity and data quality, and ideally accelerating time to market.
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