Assessment of Trends in the Design, Accrual, and Completion of Trials Registered in by Sponsor Type, 2000-2019

Gillian Gresham, Jill L. Meinert, Arthur G. Gresham, Curtis L. Meinert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: is a valuable resource that can be used to trace the state and nature of trials. Since its launch in 2000, more than 345000 trials have been registered. Little is known about the characteristics and trends in clinical trials over time and how they differ by sponsor type. Objective: To assess trends in clinical trials registered in over time and by sponsor type. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study included clinical trials (interventional studies) registered in from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2019. The trials were grouped by lead sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other US government agencies, industry, and other sources (foundations, universities, hospitals, clinics, and others). A static version of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative Aggregate Analysis of database was downloaded on January 1, 2020, for analysis. Main Outcomes and Measures: registration fields, including overall status, phase, intervention, number of sites, use of masking and randomization, sample size, and time to study completion by start year and lead sponsor (organization that provided funding or support for a clinical study). Results: A total of 245999 clinical trials (interventional studies) were started between 2000 and 2019, of which 135144 (54.9%) were completed. Among completed trials, 5113 (3.8%) were sponsored by the NIH or a US government agency, 48668 (36.0%) by industry, and 81363 (60.2%) by other sources. Most trials were single center (61.3%), randomized (65.6%), and phase 1 to 2 (35.5%) or did not have a US Food and Drug Administration-defined phase (38.4%), with fewer drug trials being conducted over time. Sample sizes were small (median, 60; interquartile range [IQR], 30-160) and diminished over time. Trial median completion times varied by lead sponsor: 3.4 years (IQR, 1.9-5.0 years) for NIH- A nd US government-sponsored trials, 1.2 years (IQR, 0.5-2.4 years) for industry trials, and 2.1 years (IQR, 1.1-3.7) for trials sponsored by other sources. Conclusions and Relevance: The findings suggest that the composition and design of trials changed from 2000 to 2019 and differed substantially by sponsor type. Increased funding toward larger randomized clinical trials may be warranted to inform clinical decision-making and guide future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2014682
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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