How much do clinical trials cost?

There are two types of costs associated with participation in a clinical trial, each varying by trial and sponsor. Before participating in a clinical trial, participants should review and consult with their insurance carrier as well as financial counselors within the physician’s offices and health system.

  • Patient care costs: Typical patient care costs include but are not limited to doctor visits, hospital stays, clinical laboratory tests, radiology exams  including X-rays and CT scans and any other medical costs that occur regardless of whether the patient is participating in the clinical trial or receiving standard or usual care. These costs are usually covered by a third party health plan, such as Medicare or private insurance.
  • Research costs: Care received above and beyond the standard of care due to participation in a clinical trial is considered research cost. These may include expenses such as data collection, research physician or nurse time, investigational drugs and specialized labs or radiology. Research costs are generally paid by the pharmaceutical company.

The sponsor and the participant’s health plan provider should resolve coverage of these costs for trials. Again, participants should consult with their physicians about the financial aspects of any trials they are considering.