EDMONTON, Alberta (March 13, 2018) — A team of researchers, in partnership with the University of Alberta and the Institute of Health Economics, has determined that the total value of Alberta’s industry-sponsored clinical trials initiated in 2012 alone was as high as $101 million.

According to clinicaltrials.gov, a global clinical study database, there were approximately 1,300 active or recruiting studies in Alberta as of February 2018. Between lab services, testing, trial administration, management fees, board review, and drug prices, there are a number of costs associated with clinical trials. The research team conducted a study to add up these costs and determine the total economic value of clinical research in Alberta that is sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

The research team chose to evaluate studies that were initiated in 2012 and ended by September 2016. They found that, on average, non-cancer trials are worth $799,055 each, totalling $32 million for the 40 trials studied. Cancer trials are worth slightly less at $630,243 each for a total of $24.6 million for the 39 trials studied.

This means that, for studies that were initiated in 2012, the health care system saved an average of $74,471 in treatment costs for each non-cancer patient and $225,500 for each cancer patient enrolled in industry-sponsored trials. When the cost of post-trial drugs given to patients is factored in, these savings are even higher.

These results only account for clinical research conducted in Edmonton, however. When scaled to the provincial level, as much as $101 million was saved in the health care system through Alberta’s industry-sponsored clinical trials in 2012.

While this investment represents only a small portion of Alberta’s annual health care spending ($19.468 billion, according to Alberta Economics and Trade’s 2017 report), it demonstrates the province’s ability to adapt to a challenging economic environment. Bringing high-powered, knowledge-based work to Alberta will help to diversify its economy and preserve its future.

In 2013, while this study was being conducted, approximately $94.65 million was invested in clinical research in Alberta. Compared with other research funders, industry contributions to the value of drugs and clinical services in pharmaceutical trials amounted to $72.2 million, which is 76% of all provincial clinical research funding.

The study team was made up of Drs. Dat T. Tran, Ilke Akpinar, Richard N. Fedorak, Egon Jonsson, John R. Mackey, Lawrence Richer, and Philip Jacobs. The results of this study were written up in the academic article “The Economic Contribution of Industry-Sponsored Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials” and published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in November 2017.


Dr. Lawrence Richer
Interim Divisional Director — Pediatric Neurology
Director, NACTRC
Associate Dean, Clinical and Translational Research
Associate Director, WCHRI

4-582 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 87 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9
T: 780.248.5499
E: [email protected]

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