Who knew clinical trials were still so stuck in the past? Besides the big ethical questions the studies raise, enrollees also face a number of taxing hurdles that can sometimes bar participation. For those with rare orphan diseases, for example, just traveling to the studies can be a financial and logistical nightmare. And when it’s time to get paid, participants can sometimes wait weeks for paper checks in the mail.
And as you might imagine, the more roadblocks to participation, the harder it is for researchers to get potentially cutting-edge drugs on the market.
Here’s where the Philadelphia region comes in. Out in King of Prussia, Greenphire, a small financial technology company, is putting the region at the forefront of advancements in clinical trial transactions. With the company’s ClinCard debit card and connected Travel Module, drug study participants can travel to trials and avoid out-of-pocket costs with pre-arranged travel and prepaid fees.
“The administrative burden of managing payment for thousands of clinical trial participants was substantial for our clients,” Greenphire’s CEO, Jim Murphy told Philadelphia magazine. “And patients had very little control in the process.”
There are between 2,000 to 3,000 new clinical trials started on average globally each year, and in Philadelphia alone, clinicaltrials.gov lists more than 9,000 studies. In October, the FDA awarded 21 new clinical trial research grants totaling about $23 million to boost the development of products or patients with rare diseases, many of which the FDA says have little or no available treatment options.
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