Managing the Rising Costs of Investigator Fees in Clinical Trials – Part II

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In this part 2 video (see part one here), we discuss three tips to help study sponsors manage the rising costs of investigator fees in clinical trials.

Related Terms: clinical trial costs, clinical trial budgets, clinical study budgets, investigator fees, research site fees, site budgets

Video Transcript (verbatim):

Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of ClinBiz where we love connecting with you on the business aspects of clinical trials. So, in today’s episode we are actually going to be covering part two of the video series on managing the rising cost of investigator fees. We actually did part one last week so if you haven’t watched that video, I suggest you go back. It’s going to be in the comments the link to watch that video. And today we’ll talk about part two, the next three tips to managing the rising cost investigator fees. Stay tuned.

Welcome back. So, today again we’re going to be talking about part two of this two-part video series on managing the rising cost and investigator fees within clinical trials, right. So, if you haven’t watched the first video again, I suggest you go back. So, just continuing on in from the last video we made on this topic. We’re going to be covering today three more tips for you as a study sponsor on how you can manage these rising costs and investigator fees for your own organization and really across the industry, right?

So, let’s go to number one so number one tip for today is for you to evaluate your need for specific types of sites. So, we’ve covered this in another video when we talked about strategic site selection and the supplies here too. So very important for you to take a look when you’re thinking about the type of sites you’re going to, you’re doing you know your site selection or pre-site selection conversations. What type of sites you’re really going to and really evaluating the need for those types of sites. Here’s an example, for example, are you looking to just go to academic sites overall? Are you willing to perhaps have some academic sites, some non-academic sites, perhaps some larger sites but they’re not academics some smaller sites? Are you willing to have a good mix or do you really need to only be in large academic institutions? The reason why this is important, I mean, it’s obvious for people that are you know within a financial or a contract negotiation you know group within a study sponsor but it may not be as obvious to others.

So, here’s the reason why it’s important for you to be looking at the type of sites you’re going to. Large academic institutions traditionally have very high fees certain fees that you know to cover different departments obviously they’re bigger, they’re more complex organizations, they have different costs for different departments, they have traditionally higher overheads, overhead percentages and things like that they have additional fees and there are additional invoicables and so there’s a lot of costs associated with a large academic institution versus sometimes a smaller site. I’m not going to say every smaller site but most smaller sites or non-academics or community sites they will have much, much less you know these type of these much less of these types of fees additional fees and large startup costs it will be much less just because obviously they are smaller nature, they’re less complex, they may maybe run things a little bit leaner. So, evaluate the need you have for specific sites and think about how perhaps adding a different mix to it instead of just going to large academic institutions for example if you’re able to have more of a mixture of the different sites that can drastically reduce your costs right away. Or perhaps do you even need to go to large academic institutions? Perhaps you can get you know the patients that are needed for those studies within more of a community type of site or a smaller organization and you can have the same results you know from those smaller sites as well. So, think about those sites because that’s going to be very important and you’re reducing your cost for your organization dramatically, right?

So, number two–so that’s number one. Number two is it ties to something we talked about in the first video so if you haven’t seen the first video take a look at it is limit agreeing to exception requests, right? And what we mean by that, sometimes a research site may come to you with an exceptional request and sometimes they are warranted, they are actually needed for that study. It’s really something very, very clear that it needs to be covered, right? Sometimes they’re not. But the point in this point we’re talking about is to really limit agreeing to exceptional requests. There’s a quote that I’ve heard often and I’ll let you guys know. I think it’s from C. Northcote Parkinson. I wrote down the name so I wouldn’t forget is that a luxury once enjoyed becomes a necessity, right? And I think that we can relate to that in various areas of our lives, right. So sometimes asking for these exceptions what ends up happening is a study sponsor agrees to cover an exception, it may be warranted, it may not. But they agree to cover that exception and all of a sudden that exception becomes a necessity for a future study. It just becomes more and more of a necessity and so you need to really think about as a study sponsor on limiting– limit agreeing to exception requests, right? Just generally. You shouldn’t be agreeing to exception requests all the time because then they’re no longer an exception, right? And you need to be thinking about perhaps if those things really need to be incorporated as something normal for your organization it may be a point or perhaps, you’re really agreeing to things that should not be covered right, by you as a study sponsor for trial. So, you need to be having those conversations about exception requests and really thinking about limiting those requests across your organization generally and or perhaps looking as well when an exception becomes start becoming more and more of a request, you need to be sitting down having a conversation, is this something that we do need to incorporate or is it something we really now need to draw a line on and say no, right? And that’s very important for as a study sponsor.

And many of these points as I mentioned our first video can actually be used also from a research study site you know perspective when they’re negotiating with study sponsors or when they’re agreeing to participate in a study. You also have negotiation power as well, right? And then number three, very important and the last point for this video is that you look as a study sponsor look at new ways to get things accomplished. So, this past year at the time of the recording of this video, you know over the past year we’ve seen so many new ways that our industry has innovated in or perhaps didn’t innovate in but just had to sort of move on and do things differently due to you know the global situation in all across the world. And so, a lot of things such as decentralized trials or decentralized approaches you know virtual trials, hybrid trials, all these things have been really explored and used. Well, this is a perfect time for you as a study sponsor to also look at different ways of doing the same old things, right? It sounds bad in a way but it’s just really looking at new ways of doing the things that you’re always doing not just to investigator fees this across your organization.

But when it comes to investigator fees take a look at things, you’re traditionally covering directly with your research sites and see if there’s something that you can do centralized. Again, there’s always you know research sites are extremely important in our trials and very important to keep that relationship. But look at things that perhaps are a burden to the research sites that they still have to do and think about perhaps there’s a way that you can take that on with a vendor, you can centralize that and perhaps reduce your costs over all your trials, over all your programs, and really be able to do things in a different way. This is the best time– a better time than ever really to explore doing things differently in trials and within a category of investigator fees, this is no exception. So, take a look at you know things that you’re doing over and over that your research sites have the burden of doing over and over or within your trials and see if there’s a new way that you can do that that will be less burdensome to the site, that will actually perhaps be more centralized that you can take that on and perhaps that will lower your costs across the board, right? So, take a look at those types of things.

All right. So, there you have it. Just a few tips to help you on your way on this very, very important topic. And obviously if you need more information on this or you’re looking to do things differently within your organization, definitely reach out to us. We do have some private consulting that we do specifically on this topic. So, just reach out to us at we’ll be happy to answer to you. We also want to let you know about our ClinBiz virtual event that’s coming up on October 19th through 21st of this year. And in that event, we’ll definitely be covering many of these types of conversations around contracts, budgets, payments, clinical outsourcing, overall clinical business operations. You don’t want to miss this event if you’re at all involved in these types of topics within your organization. We are looking to bring on you know what are the latest trends, latest topics, the latest conversations around this, latest best practices for you. We’re also going to be launching an industry survey right before that event gathering all this industry intel, all this industry information on these topics and we’ll be actually revealing the results live at the ClinBiz Virtual event in October so you definitely don’t want to miss it.

All right. So, thank you so much for joining us in these videos. If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, make sure you go to you subscribe there so you’re always notified of the new things we have coming up. Thank you so much for watching and until next time, have a good one. Bye-bye.

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