Driving clinical study efficiency by using a productivity breakdown model: comparative evaluation of a global clinical study and a similar Japanese study


H. Kimura, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. Tel.: +81 (0) 3 5841 0282; fax: +81 (0) 3 3812 2111; e-mail: kimura@mol.f.u-tokyo.ac.jp


What is known and objective:  A fundamental management imperative of pharmaceutical companies is to contain surging costs of developing and launching drugs globally. Clinical studies are a research and development (R&D) cost driver. The objective of this study was to develop a productivity breakdown model, or a key performance indicator (KPI) tree, for an entire clinical study and to use it to compare a global clinical study with a similar Japanese study. We, thereby, hope to identify means of improving study productivity.

Methods:  We developed the new clinical study productivity breakdown model, covering operational aspects and cost factors. Elements for improving clinical study productivity were assessed from a management viewpoint by comparing empirical tracking data from a global clinical study with a Japanese study with similar protocols.

Results:  The following unique and material differences, beyond simple international difference in cost of living, that could affect the efficiency of future clinical trials were identified: (i) more frequent site visits in the Japanese study, (ii) head counts at the Japanese study sites more than double those of the global study and (iii) a shorter enrolment time window of about a third that of the global study at the Japanese study sites.

What is new and conclusion:  We identified major differences in the performance of the two studies. These findings demonstrate the potential of the KPI tree for improving clinical study productivity. Trade-offs, such as those between reduction in headcount at study sites and expansion of the enrolment time window, must be considered carefully.