CVS Health announced it has struck a deal with Medable, a decentralized clinical trial software company, incorporating its offerings into MinuteClinics to help reach more patients for late-stage clinical trials. With over 40 percent of Americans living near a CVS pharmacy, CVS says it can help gather data and manage patients at MinuteClinic locations, and through its home infusion service, Coram. CVS has already cut its teeth in the clinical research space by conducting COVID-19 vaccine and treatment trials and testing home dialysis machines, and said it plans to engage 10M patients and open up to 150 community research sites this year.
The Gist: With this deal, CVS Health joins companies like Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences subsidiary, in taking advantage of patient appetite for clinical trials without regularly traveling to a research center, which became difficult during the pandemic.
Clinical research is a $50B market that has largely revolved around academic medical centers in large urban areas, which could see their dominance of the research business challenged. CVS’s entry into this space could lower the barriers to entry for community health systems to expand into clinical research.
Ultimately, the decentralization of the clinical trials business is a win for patients, especially groups that have historically been under-represented in medical research, including rural and lower-income individuals. They may find participation through a local pharmacy—or even completely virtually from the comfort of their own home—much more accessible, affordable, and convenient.