Depending on which sources you decide to believe, the average clinical trial success rate is typically between 10% and 14%. Of course, there is an almost unlimited number of factors that contribute to such figures, including safety concerns, a lack of funding, non-compliance with FDA guidelines, and patient recruitment challenges, for example. However, there is one major contributing aspect that we often overlook: efficiency.

With a lack of efficient processes in place, researchers are essentially facilitating the introduction of obstacles that can contribute towards failure. And this is one of the reasons why there has been a notable shift in recent years towards virtual alternatives.


Making the most of your time

 According to a Sage Journals research report titled Unsuccessful trial accrual and human subjects protections: An empirical analysis of recently closed trials, a significant portion of clinical trials take longer to complete than anticipated. In fact, it’s estimated that some can take two to three times as long to complete than originally planned. The reason? We must consider delays in patient response, time taken to analyse data, and the possibility of additional tasks to rectify human error. By taking a virtual approach, researchers can boost the efficiency of their data collection and analysis processes, resulting in faster decision making and potentially reducing the time to market period.


Reducing administration and planning

 Consider that, according to the US Government’s clinical trials database, there are currently more than 320,000 recruiting and not-yet-recruiting research studies across 209 countries. Competition for sites is fierce, and one trend that we’ve seen really starting to emerge is that researchers are being forced to settle for front line healthcare sites that, while excellent at offering high levels of patient care, are limited in their ability to extend their function much beyond the basic range. It is becoming increasingly time consuming and inefficient to locate and identify suitable sites, and many are now starting to opt for virtual/decentralized trials which eradicate the need for many outside resources.


Cost efficiency

 While the costs of a clinical trial vary significantly, it’s estimated that, in total, it costs more than $2.5 billion to successfully bring a new drug to market. It’s not surprising, therefore, that pharma businesses spend almost half of their research and development budget on clinical trials. The financial impact of clinical trials can increase the risk of trial failure, which is why greater cost efficiency should be a priority for today’s researchers. With virtual clinical trials negating the need for brick-and-mortar costs, patient visit costs, and even full time associate costs, these alternative study techniques hold the potential to generate greater cost efficiency, leaving businesses with more to fund their projects.


More than just efficiency

 Greater efficiency is certainly one of the largest advantages of virtual clinical trials, but it’s important to also consider how these modern trials are also going a long way towards improving patient satisfaction, meeting expectations, and generally building trials that participants not only want to join, but actually want to remain in. It’s easy to see why patients make the decision to drop out. Standard trials are “quite a burden of time and effort” according to Deloitte Managing Director Dawn  Anderson, who cites the need for time off work, travel, and waiting as deterrents.

Virtual clinical trials successfully tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the pharma industry today, creating greater efficiency, boosting retention rates, and ultimately transforming the future of the medical world through more approvals.


If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of a virtual clinical trial, contact us.