Clinical trials pay off

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Australian clinical trials could be saving Australia billions of dollars in improved patient outcomes and more needs to be done to overcome barriers to trials running here, a new report reveals.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) and the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) released the ‘Economic evaluation of investigator-initiated clinical trials conducted by networks’ report this week.

Analysis of 25 clinical trials showed implementation of the results would realise $1.4 billion in savings through improved patient outcomes. It also revealed that every dollar invested in clinical trials realises a $5.80 return.

Commission Clinical Director Robert Herkes said the findings of the study were significant.

“The study shows the bulk of the economic impact of these trials comes from improving patient outcomes as well as improving the safety and quality of health care,” said Dr Herkes.

ACTA Chair, Professor John Zalcberg said there is growing evidence that these trials have a major impact in improving healthcare quality and outcomes.

“The results of this report encourage us to continue to translate findings of our rigorous research into practice to ensure we continue to provide the highest standard of patient care, while also providing significant savings to the Australian healthcare system.”

However, the report states one barrier of implementing the trial results into practice is the reliance on in-kind support as it “undermines the timeliness, volume and international competitiveness of trial research and results in missed opportunities.”

In-kind support was highlighted as important to provide the networks with the means to do the trial, like time donated by staff to undertake the trial, but the report recognises this support as “being finite, at capacity and in many instances at risk of exhaustion.”

The report recommends that “evaluation of the level of in-kind support at the network, trial coordinating centre and trial site level. It is anticipated that projected economic benefits would continue to far outweigh the known costs to set up and run networks, even if in-kind support were fully funded.”

The study involved 50,000 participants and evaluated three Australian clinical trial networks, they are the Australasian Stroke Trials Network, Interdisciplinary Maternal Perinatal Australians Collaborative Trials Network and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group.

This is the Commission’s first report focusing on the economic impact of dedicated clinical trials.

 

The full report can be found here.

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