How to get funding for pharmaceutical trials

Clinical trials are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of new drugs. The results data of animal testing and extended lab tests on human cells should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The second stage involves human testing in four phases.

Each phase is a distinct clinical trial and each phase is completed upon approval of the results by the FDA. If the experiment is successful, the results of the clinical trial are published in scientific journals to provide a scientific basis for treatment decisions as well as to enable governments to develop all-encompassing reimbursement policies.

Pharmaceutical trials

Industry-funded trials

Nearly 90 percent of the clinical trials for experimental drugs are funded by pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical institutions, and foundations. Since the public sector cannot afford the cost, huge pharmaceutical companies undertake the financial burden. However, the financial risk is huge as, if the trial fails and the drug proves ineffective, the company loses money. Additionally, the scientists who design, conduct and release the results of each clinical trial are either put on the payroll or are compensated in the form of consulting fees. In both cases, the compensation fees are high. Due to certain incidents of wrongdoing in conducting clinical trials, the general public believes that pharmaceutical companies deliberately manipulate their trials so that they produce positive results to support a New Drug Application (NDA).

Funding clinical trials

Funds for clinical trials are provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. If the clinical trial is designed to provide a new therapy in the form of a drug, vaccine, diagnostic test or medical device, the clinical trial may be supported as an innovation and be funded as such. Additionally, according to the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004, sponsoring clinical trials is under the control of the EU Clinical Trials Directive. In this context, clinical trials of experimental drugs require sponsors (an organization or a group of people) willing and capable of securing the arrangement of managing a clinical trial as well as the financial ability to undertake the responsibilities and accountabilities associated with assuming this role. Typically, the sponsor is the host organizations where the trial is conducted, such as the NIH or a university.

Bottom Line

Clinical trials are fundamental to the mission of improving human enhancing health and extending human life, while reducing the burdens of illness and disability. Through clinical trials, scientists gain a thorough insight about the efficacy and safety of experimental drugs.