Clinical trial allocation in multinational pharmaceutical companies: a qualitative study on influential factors

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Clinical trial allocation in multinational pharmaceutical companies includes country selection and site selection. With emphasis on site selection, the overall aim of this study was to examine which factors pharmaceutical companies value most when allocating clinical trials. The specific aims were (1) to identify key decision makers during country and site selection, respectively, (2) to evaluate by which parameters subsidiaries are primarily assessed by headquarters with regard to conducting clinical trials, and (3) to evaluate which site-related qualities companies value most when selecting trial sites. Eleven semistructured interviews were conducted among employees engaged in trial allocation at 11 pharmaceutical companies. The interviews were analyzed by deductive content analysis, which included coding of data to a categorization matrix containing categories of site-related qualities. The results suggest that headquarters and regional departments are key decision makers during country selection, whereas subsidiaries decide on site selection. Study participants argued that headquarters primarily value timely patient recruitment and quality of data when assessing subsidiaries. The site-related qualities most commonly emphasized during interviews were study population availability, timely patient recruitment, resources at the site, and site personnel's interest and commitment. Costs of running the trials were described as less important. Site personnel experience in conducting trials was described as valuable but not imperative. In conclusion, multinational pharmaceutical companies consider recruitment-related factors as crucial when allocating clinical trials. Quality of data and site personnel's interest and commitment are also essential, whereas costs seem less important. While valued, site personnel experience in conducting clinical trials is not imperative.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00317
JournalPharmacology Research & Perspectives
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Research areas

  • Clinical trial allocation, patient recruitment, pharmaceutical companies, qualitative research, trial site selection

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