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Fact Sheet

The Facts on Clinical Research

ACRO is committed to educating policymakers, regulators, and the general public about the value of clinical research in developing new drugs and protecting patient safety.  ACRO members provide specialized services integral to the development of drugs, biologics and medical devices—helping to not only enhance the clinical research and drug development process, but improve health, encourage efficiency, and contribute to the economy in America and worldwide.

Improving Health

  • Each year, ACRO members conduct more than 9,000 clinical trials in 140 countries involving nearly two million research participants.
  • The top five therapeutic areas for clinical research organizations are: oncology, central nervous system, infectious disease, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease.  Vaccine development is another growing area of research for CROs.
  • ACRO members have contributed to the development of all of the top 50 selling biopharmaceutical products globally.
  • They also participate in the development of the vast majority of new treatments and therapies approved worldwide each year.

Economy and Job Creation

  • In 2015, CRO industry revenue was estimated at $25.6 billion; that amount is expected to reach $27.8 billion in 2016.
  • The revenue estimates are provided by Industry Standard Research and represents approximately one-third of drug development spending.
  • ACRO member companies employ approximately 110,000 people worldwide.

Improving Efficiency

  • According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, clinical trials conducted by CROs are completed on average 30 percent more quickly than those conducted in-house.
  • This results in an average time savings of some four to five months, translating to $120 million to $150 million in increased revenue potential.
  • ACRO member companies manage nearly one million square feet of laboratory space, process more than 16 million samples each year and deliver more than 60 million individual test results.

Fast Stats

  • Approximately two-thirds of CRO business is funded by the pharmaceutical industry, 27 percent from biotech, and the rest by the medical device, foundation and government sectors.
  • Approximately 46 percent of clinical trials are conducted in the United States, 30 percent in Europe and the remainder in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.