Drug cost avoidance resulting from cancer clinical trials

Contemp Clin Trials. 2010 Nov;31(6):524-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2010.09.004. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


The purpose of the study was to determine if economic benefits result when cancer clinical trial patients receive sponsor-provided drug, thereby avoiding standard care drug costs for which institutions are financially responsible. All open, closed and terminated oncology trial protocols and drug dispensing data from 1992-2007 were reviewed for the lung, hematology, neurology, genitourinary and gynecology tumor groups at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. Actual and projected, potential drug cost avoidance per patient and per drug from the trials was determined. Forty-two percent of the 101 reviewed studies offered drug cost avoidance. Drug specific cost avoidance ranged from $11.74 to $249,731.70 per patient, while potential drug specific cost avoidance ranged from $14.14 to $286,650.70 per patient. Actual drug cost avoidances, according to tumor group, were calculated showing a median range of $1377.00 to $23,751.00 per patient between tumor groups. The median range for potential drug cost avoidance was substantially higher, from $9868.00 to $46,640.00 per patient. Economic benefits result for the institution when patients participating in clinical trials receive drug provided by an external source. Drug cost avoidance varies due to type and cost of standard of care drug used and due to the design of individual trials. The existence of drug cost avoidance is an additional benefit that clinical trials can bring to an institution (in our case, Alberta Health Services).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / economics*
  • Canada
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / economics*
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Industry / economics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / economics


  • Antineoplastic Agents