Clinical Investigators Role in New Drug Adoption


IMS data show the importance of the role clinical investigators play in prescribing.

IMS data show the importance of the role clinical investigators play in prescribing.

Clinical investigators play two important roles in the new drug process. They are integral parts of the creation of medical innovation. As researchers, these physicians participate in the clinical trials that generate the medical data used by regulatory authorities to evaluate the efficacy and safety of compounds, which may become marketed drugs. Clinical investigators are also important in the adoption of medical innovation. IMS prescribing data show that clinical investigators who have participated in the clinical trial of a new compound were more likely to prescribe that drug when, and if, it came to market than were a matched set of physicians who had never acted as clinical trial investigators. 

The difference in prescribing levels is immediate and sustained over the 18 months from the date of the first recorded filled prescription that the analysis covered. Interestingly, the more innovative the drug, the greater the difference between the investigators and the control physicians.

Few clinical investigators are world famous medical authorities. Most are practicing physicians, seeing patients on a regular basis. These investigators act as a type of local opinion leader, influencing the other physicians with whom the investigators come into contract. Extensive research has demonstrated that the number one factor influencing a physician’s decision to prescribe a new drug for the first time is the opinion of another respected physician. Many clinical investigators may play this role of a respected physician and may be viewed by other doctors as important medical information resources about the newly marketed drug.


Average Market Share for New Drug
3, 6 and 18 Months After Market Launch

Source: Department of Health Policy and Public Policy, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, using IMS Health data.


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