Access to patients trumps cost among pharma outsourcers shopping for CROs, according to a new poll from ISR Reports, but Phase I researchers said they'd be keeping an eye on the price of services going forward.
ISR talked with 61 pharma professionals, finding that 44% said timely access to the right patient populations was in their top 5 concerns when looking for a Phase I service provider, compared with 28% who said low-cost service was a top priority.
The respondents also valued a CRO's reputation, Outsourcing-Pharma reports, with 36% putting a positive previous experience in their top 5 and 20% listing it as the No. 1 criterion. ISR polled its respondents about their experiences with CROs like Parexel International ($PRXL), Covance ($CVD) and Cetero Research.
However, while cost wasn't a top priority for many outsourcers, that may change. According to ISR, respondents said that keeping prices down was an increasingly important factor, indicating that while current costs are manageable, service providers can expect some pricing pressures down the line, ISR CEO Kevin Olson told Outsourcing-Pharma.
The good news for CROs, though, is that the money is likely to keep flowing. Outsourcing of Phase I studies has risen about 3% over the last 18 months, and respondents predict a 5% increase over the next year, according to ISR.