Size of clinical trials and introductory prices of prophylactic vaccine series

Steven H. Weinberg*, Amy T. Butchart, Matthew M. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Costs of completing the recommended immunization schedule have increased over the last decade. Access to prophylactic vaccines may become limited due to financing obstacles within current delivery systems. Vaccine prices reflect research and development expenses incurred by vaccine manufacturers, including costs associated with evaluating candidate vaccines in human subjects. If the number of subjects in clinical trials is increasing over time and associated with vaccine price, this may help explain increases in prices of vaccine series. We examined whether: (A) the initial public- and private-sector prices for recommended prophylactic vaccine series licensed and recommended in the US increased from 2000-2011, (B) the number of human subjects per licensed vaccine increased during the time period and (C) the number of human subjects was associated with the initial public - and private - sector prices of the vaccine series. In regression analyses of 13 vaccines, approval year was not significantly associated with the number of human subjects, initial public-sector prices or initial private-sector prices. While the number of Phase II subjects was not significantly associated with prices, the numbers of phase III and combined late phase (phases II + III) subjects were significantly associated with initial public- and private-sector series prices (p < 0.05). The association between number of subjects and initial prices demonstrated diminishing marginal increases in price with increasing numbers of subjects. These findings may help guide the number of subjects required by the FDA in clinical trials, in order to reduce expenses for manufacturers and thereby help mitigate increases in initial vaccine series prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1070
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Clinical trials
  • Human subjects
  • Price
  • Research and development
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology


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