Economic benefits of cancer trials

A unique aspect of our funding model is that we are highly effective in using the research grants provided by the Exchequer, other organisations and donors to generate multiples of this funding in earned income from the pharmaceutical industry and international collaborative groups.

The independent analysis prepared by DKM Economic Consultants estimates that the €3.63m funding from the Exchequer, and other grants, allocated to cancer trials in 2016 saved the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) at least €6.5m in cancer drugs cost, generated almost €6m in tax revenues, contributed €16.5m to Ireland’s GDP and supported over 230 jobs, mostly high quality specialist positions.

In addition, it suggests we generated more than €3.85m from international sources. One cancer trials research unit consulted during the analysis found that for every €1 in grant funding it received, it generated a further €3 in income from industry for trials. Other hospitals have pointed to similar ratios in funding.

Despite the positive multiplier effect, the level of grant funding per patient enrolled in cancer trials in Ireland has fallen by 45% over the last decade, from a peak of €3,650 in 2009 to €2,020 in 2015. The decline in grants will mean a reduction in the number of “homegrown” investigator led studies which are driven by the public interest such as the POSITIVE trial.