Beyond the profound value that biopharmaceutical industry research and development (R&D) brings patients – new treatments and potential cures for society’s most devastating and costly diseases – are the significant economic benefits resulting from the conduct of clinical trials in communities across the country.
Clinical trials are the most time and resource intensive part of the R&D process for a new medicine, and biopharmaceutical companies support and conduct the lion’s share of this work.
Clinical Trials Impact State Economies
A new report from Battelle, supported by PhRMA, provides estimates of industry-sponsored clinical trial activity in each of the 50 states, including the number of trials active, the number of trial participants, the annual direct investment by biopharmaceutical companies to operate the clinical trial sites, and the total economic impact resulting from that investment, including the indirect economic effects that ripple through local economies.
There are a number of interesting findings in the report:
- In 2013, the biopharmaceutical industry sponsored 6,199 clinical trials of medicines in the U.S., involving a total of 1.1 million participants. Trials occurred in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- The biopharmaceutical industry spent nearly $10 billion directly in the conduct of clinical trials at the site level across the U.S. in 2013. These amounts are in addition to the significant resources invested in clinical trial-related activities occurring outside the individual trial sites.
- When considering the overall impact of site-specific clinical trial activity across states, i.e., the ripple effect of expenditures by clinical trial vendors and contractors and spending by industry and vendor employees, industry-sponsored clinical trials generated a total of $25 billion in economic activity in communities throughout the U.S.
- The five states with the largest number of active clinical trials were:
- Some states not typically associated with a large biopharmaceutical industry presence had a large number of trials (for example, 1,928 trials in Ohio and 1,578 trials in Tennessee).
- Only seven states plus the District of Columbia had fewer than 200 clinical trials active in 2013.
This report’s focus is solely on investments made at clinical trial sites, and doesn’t capture all of the trial-wide work that occurs across sites, which includes things like trial design, coordination, and data analysis, nor does it capture the substantial investments companies make every year in basic and preclinical research, before projects ever get to the clinical testing phase.
The nationwide economic impact associated with the industry as a whole – including non-R&D activities such as manufacturing and distribution – has been well documented in recent years. This analysis provides a new lens through which to view the economic and scientific footprint of the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry. What it shows is that industry sponsored clinical trials are not only vital to the development of new treatments and cures for patients, but also play an important role in sustaining economic growth in communities throughout the country.
John Corea John Corea is Deputy Vice President, Policy & Research at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. At PhRMA, John commissions and oversees research projects that further policymakers’ and the public’s understanding of the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry and its role in the healthcare system. He manages a range of issues related to the economics of R&D, the economic impact of the biopharmaceutical industry, and putting the cost of medicines into context. In his more than two decades of experience in health policy and healthcare economics research and consulting, John has advised or consulted for stakeholders in nearly every corner of American health care. Before joining PhRMA, John spent the largest part of his career at The Lewin Group, a nationally-renowned health policy consulting firm based in Falls Church, Virginia. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.