Concerns exist regarding the additional cost of patient care when patients are enrolled in clinical trials at hospitals. To assess the avoidance of drug costs by conducting sponsored clinical trials, a retrospective analysis evaluating drug cost avoidance in all sponsored clinical trials was conducted in 2008 at the most prominent medical center in Taiwan. The National Health Insurance (NHI) reimbursement prices of either the investigated drugs or the standardized drug therapy for each specific disease were used to calculate the cost avoidance. Drug cost avoidance from sponsored clinical trials per year, per trial, per patient, in different therapeutic areas, and in different phases was analyzed. Three quarters of the cost avoidance in drug expenditures from 194 sponsored clinical trials were estimated. All cost values are in US Dollars. Around $11.2 million was avoided at the center in 2008. The average value of cost avoidance was $58,000/trial-year or $3,900/participant-year. The early-phase trials and phase III trials accounted for 25% and 56% of all trials, respectively, while they constituted 32% and 49% of the total costs avoided, respectively. The most frequently conducted and highest cost-avoiding trials were those for antineoplastic agents, especially targeted therapy which accounted for 85% of the total cost avoidance of anti-cancer trials. This study demonstrates the profoundly positive economic impact on the healthcare system in Taiwan by sponsored clinical trials. To understand the trend of economic benefits of the trials on pharmaceutical expenditure, it would be important to analyze the cost avoidance of trials regularly in an institution.
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