Participation push: How retail pharmacies can innovate clinical trials
Clinical trials are vital to evaluating the safety and efficacy of new medicines and devices. Traditionally, these trials are conducted through large academic medical centers or dedicated research clinics. However, the traditional model can create challenges for recruitment and trial conduct. Locations are far from patients’ homes and generally difficult to fit into their busy lives.
As a trusted national brand with a local community presence, CVS Health is well positioned to address these challenges. In 2021, we launched CVS Health Clinical Trial Services, or CTS, with the goal of developing and executing a community-centric model for clinical trials.
What is CTS Doing Differently?
In addition to expanding access, CTS leverages CVS Health resources to advance clinical research in two key areas.
The first is diversity. It is essential for clinical trials to be inclusive. CTS maintains a strong commitment to diversity in clinical trial participation. By lowering the barrier for patients to participate, we have the unique opportunity to recruit individuals from underserved communities. Also, we are committed to hiring people with diverse backgrounds into our clinical research network. By focusing on the importance of diversity during outreach and hiring, CVS Health can build greater connection and trust with the people it serves.
[Read more: CVS Health’s, Medable’s clinical trial expands access to underserved communities]
The second is that CVS Health owns what we believe to be the largest patient database in the U.S. By analyzing these records, we can conduct targeted recruitment to match the right patient to the right trial. We can also use this database to collect real-world data (RWD), such as clinical results collected outside of a research setting. When our pharma partners approach us to better understand a drug’s safety profile or how it compares to another drug, we can collect RWD in a noninvasive way that contributes to health care outside of a controlled study. This gives CVS Health the power to analyze patient disease burden and patterns relative to cost, treatment effectiveness and outcomes.
Our community-centric trial model is transformative; we are moving clinical research, quickly, toward better care. CVS Health can mitigate some of the risks associated with clinical research by offering a more flexible and convenient system. In doing so, we work toward our goal of advancing healthcare innovation and accessibility, regardless of ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In the last year and a half, CTS has made considerable progress toward this end and is only continuing to grow.