Benchmarking Investigator Payments

December 10, 2012
Jeremy Klein

Applied Clinical Trials

If you have not read “Sensible approaches for reducing clinical trial costs” it is worth a read. It gives one of the better economic assessments of clinical trial costs. In this study the authors quantify the average spending, per trial, on investigator payments and the figure is quite staggering as investigator payments account for 48% of the total trials cost. So it goes without saying that sponsors and CROs can’t afford to get the investigator payment level wrong. For sponsors and CROs, the downsides of not paying market-rate investigator fees impact both the financial health of the organization and the ability to recruit high-performing and experienced sites. Pay too much and your R&D budget evaporates too quickly, pay too little and it will be difficult to recruit experienced sites.

Industry Standard Research (ISR) recently launched a report that looked to quantify investigator payments/ grants across a number of therapeutic areas, study phases, and the types of compounds being investigated. In the “Benchmarking Investigator Payments” report we wanted to find what drives the costs of payments up and down so that sponsors and CROs can benchmark their payment levels and better plan for study costs.

Averages can be deceiving. The average investigator payment/ grant per patient was $6,900, but that figure can vary wildly based on the therapeutic are (e.g. Oncology), Phase (e.g. Phase I), and compound type (e.g. Biosimilar). Trial length and complexity also play a large role in the payment levels. But it is not all about the money for some investigators. Many investigators indicated they would consider taking a lower payment if they were working on a novel compound.

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