Minnesota Oncology

The Cost of Clinical Trials

There are two types of costs associated with a trial:

  • Patient care costs; and
  • Research costs

Patient care costs: These are costs associated with providing medical goods and services to each patient. Usual care costs include doctor visits, hospital stays, clinical laboratory tests, x-rays, and any other medical costs that occur regardless of whether a patient is participating in a clinical trial or receiving standard treatment. These costs are usually covered by a third-party health plan, such as Medicare or private insurance.

Care that is related to the clinical trial but not part of routine care may or may not be covered by your insurance. When considering clinical trial participation, you should work with your doctor, the research nurse, or your health plan to determine what is and is not covered.

Research costs: Research costs are costs that are associated with clinical trial participation, such as data collection and management, research physician and nurse time, analysis of results, and tests performed purely for research purposes. Such costs are usually covered by the sponsoring organization, such as a pharmaceutical company. The sponsor and the participant’s health plan need to resolve coverage of these costs for particular trials. Again, be sure to consult with your physician about the financial aspects of any trial you are considering.

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