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Running clinical trials remotely or virtually can provide substantial financial savings for pharmaceutical companies, according to a new pilot study. And the findings may prompt still further use of such techniques, which have been increasingly adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specifically, remote or virtual methods — such as telemedicine and the use of other mobile devices — yielded a five-fold return on investment of $8.6 million, on average, for Phase 2 clinical trials. For Phase 3 trials involving experimental drugs, the study found a 13-fold return on investment of $41 million, on average, per medicine. And the return was $20.4 million when these methods were used during both trial stages.


“At first pass, this suggests these approaches are beneficial. They may not be uniformly beneficial, but overall, it does suggest it improves the drug development process and yields financial gains,” said Joseph Dimasi, a research associate professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine and lead economist at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, which ran the pilot study.

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