Clinical trials: How to secure your first grant

September 1, 2007

More of our colleagues are turning to clinical research to offer additional treatment options to patients and add income to the bottom line.

Key Points

This article, the first of a three-part series on clinical research, will explain how to attract that first grant study for your practice.

In the past, clinical research was primarily conducted in academic or university medical centers, but, increasingly, opportunities are available for clinicians in private practice to participate in clinical research. In the past 20 years, it has become easier for credible private practitioners to secure clinical research grants. In 1990, approximately 5,000 physicians were conducting clinical research, and today that figure is more than 50,000. Many sites earn more than $250,000 from clinical research, and a few sites have incomes of more than $1 million.

Establishing contact

The pharmaceutical industry is looking for credible sites for clinical trials, but it wants sites that have experience in conducting clinical research. So how do you obtain experience when the studies are awarded to practices that already have it?

Although the representatives would like you to join a study, few of them have that kind of clout. Instead, ask them for the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the staff members who are directing clinical research projects.

Consider starting the process by writing to the pharmaceutical companies. You can use the Physicians' Desk Reference or the Internet to locate the numbers of the larger companies' home offices. Direct your correspondence to the director of clinical research, who will know about drugs in the pipeline and whether the company is enrolling sites for clinical studies.

Finally, advertise in industry journals. A well-written ad placed in the CenterWatch Monthly Newsletter, Applied Clinical Trials, The Monitor, or Drug Information Journal can frequently result in leads and contacts for clinical research. We suggest that you obtain a few back issues of these publications in order to see examples of ads, then craft an ad that is appropriate for your practice.