When you think of clinical trials, topics like health care, research and treatment most frequently come to mind. However, the economic boost provided by clinical trials is just as relevant — and often overlooked. As technologies and treatments advance and become more personalized, the clinical trial industry continues to expand and the number of trials initiated each year continues to grow. This is good news for science and for local economies. A recent report issued by the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) found that in 2017, the biopharmaceutical industry spent approximately $15 billion in clinical research, which, in turn, generated more than $42 billion in economic activity.
So, how did this $15 billion investment lead to nearly triple the economic impact, and what can we learn from this and apply to other industries? As the CEO and board member of multiple companies, I have seen firsthand the impact that businesses — specifically those in the tech sector — can have on local economies. In terms of clinical trials, the application of technology reaches far beyond the lab, encompassing everything from patient participation to data sharing. Business leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset will find even more ways to incorporate technology in medical research.
Beyond The Science
Clinical trials involve and affect multiple stakeholders beyond the sites and patients. They generate additional revenues for outsourced activities from vendors and contractors. These are the teams that handle the fundamental activities required to start and complete a clinical trial, such as trial design, recruitment and data analysis. The payments sponsors make to these vendors supporting trials quickly transform to employee wages, which are then spent locally.
Just as companies must vet tech vendors before embarking on a project, tech leads at pharmaceutical companies are often part of cross-divisional teams formed to vet outside contractors that touch different aspects of clinical trials. Because of their in-depth knowledge and understanding of multi-faceted technical considerations, they are a crucial part of the needs analysis, vetting and integration process.
On A State Level
In addition to the positive gain, clinical trials deliver to the U.S. economy overall, broken down, they also pour resources into state and local economies. What is interesting to note, from a business perspective, is that because the trials themselves are facilitated in hospitals and physicians' offices, there is no correlation between a high number of pharma companies within that state and a larger number of trials.
This article originally appeared on the Forbes Technology Council.
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