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International Clinical Trials

The ePROs and Cons

Discovering, developing and testing new drugs is a hugely costly process – bringing a single new drug from laboratory bench to neighbourhood pharmacy can cost between US$300-900 million. It is no wonder that pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to reduce the time and overall cost of the process, given that approximately half of the 20-year patent protection period is consumed by the drug development process. One of the biggest cost and time commitments in the drug development process is clinical trial testing and its associated data collection and reporting from the patient subjects in the trial.

Most data in clinical trials are manually collected on paper from patients by a clinical investigator. The process is prone to error, slow and expensive. Therefore, in order to obtain enough ‘good’ data for conclusions to be drawn regarding safety, efficacy and dosage, a large numbers of patient subjects are required to participate in many clinical trials. With more and more clinical trials depending upon larger numbers of patients, there is little doubt that patient reported outcome (PRO) data, collected in clinical trial testing, is a huge opportunity for cost savings, time reduction and data quality improvement.

One strategy being utilised to reduce time and save money in the clinical trial testing phase of the drug development process is electronic patient data collection and reporting. With accurate and complete PRO data from all clinical trials, the strong potential exists to conduct fewer trials, with fewer patients – in turn improving each trial’s efficiency and accelerating testing as well as the transition from Phase I to Phase III in the clinical development process.


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Bill Cochran joined CRF Health in December of 2006 and serves as CRF’s Worldwide Marketing and Sales Operations Executive, responsible for all the marketing, branding and sales of the company’s ePRO software and services solution, Trial Max. Before assuming his current role with CRF, Bill held executive management positions with several life science, industry- focused software and services organisations, including Decision Management International, Liquent, Inc and Tava Technologies, Inc. He has more than 20 years of technology and business process knowledge in the R&D and manufacturing operations within the life science industry and has participated on several lean manufacturing and Six Sigma operations efficiency teams. Bill received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Management from Lehigh University.
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Bill Cochran
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