5 Ways to Reduce Clinical Trial Costs

learn how to reduce clinical trial costs
learn how to reduce clinical trial costs

Clinical trials are today’s gold-standard approach for advancing medical research. However, it’s no secret that operating a study is incredibly expensive, with budgets that can easily run into the millions. Although much of the cost is necessary for success, some CROs using variable pricing can inflate budgets with change orders. Sponsors can rest easy with our top five strategies for reducing their total clinical trial expenditure. Read on to learn how biotech sponsors can reduce clinical trial costs.

1. Target the right audience

The global expenditure of clinical trial research is estimated to be over 40 billion dollars; this cost increased partly because of expensive patient recruitment efforts. To set your clinical trial up for success and savings, ensure that your study’s enrollment strategies target the right audience.

Before your trial begins, invest time locating patients already engaged within your target population. Use smart-filtering EMR technology to filter through existing databases. Trial recruitment is a leading challenge within clinical trials. Targeting people who have already demonstrated their interest in medical research is crucial. By locating these groups early on, sponsors can streamline the screening process. Patients who are engaged and understand study expectations are more willing to complete the trial in full, leading to improved retention rates and cost savings.

2. Streamline administrative duties

Using recent industry estimates, administration costs associated with conducting a clinical trial can account for 11% to 29% of the total budget. However, minimizing the frequent need for appointment scheduling, visit procedure documentation, or follow-up activities can increase profit margins simply by reducing administrative labor costs. The study design heavily influences the extent to which this method is possible. When companies thoughtfully design patient-centric trials, the burden of administrative tasks is reduced for sites and participants; this frees patients to focus on their health instead of confusing logistics.

3. Prioritize patient retention strategies

Unexpected challenges with recruitment are one of the most common reasons many clinical trials fail to meet their endpoints. Recruiting enough patients into the study is difficult, but the real hurdle, which can be even more costly, is ensuring patients complete their participation. The root of patient attrition increasing over time boils down to insurmountable patient burdens; for example, subjects can leave trials due to scheduling conflicts, lack of information, inconvenient logistical commitments, or discomfort with specific study procedure commitments. The solution to increasing patient retention rates starts at the beginning when sponsors take care to design the study with these pain points in mind. Providing easily digestible patient study materials and implementing remote follow-up options can also be beneficial in alleviating the pressure of trial obligations for participants.

4. Leverage innovation to optimize trial management

Both sponsors and sites can attest that managing a clinical trial is a challenging task. Therefore, this is another area that can become a sinkhole of extra expenses if you’re not prepared. Sponsors can reduce expenditures by promoting more automation in their data collection and cleaning operations. Source data verification can account for as much as 25% of a study budget; however, allowing data from participants or site staff to be entered directly can eliminate a significant portion of that percentage. As commonly seen in decentralized clinical trials, this strategy minimizes CRO or sponsor labor costs associated with reconciling transcribed case report form data with source data.

5. Use all tools at your disposal to spread the word

Marketing and advertising are essential when aiming for success with your clinical study. However, sponsors can avoid exceeding their budgets by forging and maintaining relationships with relevant community partners who can help spread the word to a broader audience. Local partners such as healthcare practices, non-profits, or advocacy groups within a targeted area are precious because they often have direct access to individuals who fit a study’s desired population. Supplementing their advertising strategy with this more affordable option allows sponsors to be more confident that the disseminated information will reach their desired patient type.


Clinical trials are a valuable scientific tool in medicine and research, but their exorbitant price tags are largely unavoidable. Luckily, sponsors can increase their savings by creating a study design incorporating the patient’s voice, taking advantage of community partnerships, and leveraging all the resources at their disposal. Vial is a technology-forward organization that routinely works with sponsors to circumvent these well-known expensive pitfalls associated with study operations. Reach out to a representative today to learn how we can help you lower your clinical trial costs!

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