A cost-evaluation model was applied to clinical trial protocols to estimate their cost for the hospital pharmacy service. The steps taken in the drug management of clinical research were identified. Fixed costs (common to all clinical trials) and variable costs (peculiar to each clinical trial) were determined for each step. The number of patients, the number of operations, the planned services (receptions, storage, drug dispensing), the timing and difficulty of the study (randomization) were included in the variable costs.
The economic assessment of these items was based on the costs of the materials and means used, the cost of staff time and finally the cost of drug storage during the clinical trial. This model was applied to 24 clinical trials carried out in the University Clinic of Navarra. 83% of all pharmacy costs of a clinical trial were variable. Drug dispensing, stock management and return drugs account for 94% of the time expended. The approximate cost of the pharmacy providing investigational services was $1,766 per trial or $174 per patient.
Drug storage costs were not an important source of expenditure among the variable costs (7.4%). The best way to determine the cost of a trial is to calculate the number of operations.
CITATION Pharm World Sci. 1995 Sep 22;17(5):172-6