The world is racing towards a vaccine in record time, stirring public concerns about safety to the extent that nine leading developers have felt compelled to issue a pledge to uphold scientific standards and testing rigour.
Yet, while more than 40 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are being tested on humans, the insurance companies with decades of experience in assessing the risks of clinical trials don’t see anything to be unduly concerned about.
Executives at insurer Allianz and brokers Gallagher and Marsh, among the leading players in clinical trials insurance, told Reuters that premiums had only marginally increased so far in the current pandemic.
They argued there was little structural difference to trials carried out in the past, despite drugmakers around the world competing to shatter the fastest time in history for developing a vaccine, which stands at around four years.
“Rates have been relatively stable. Even this year we have so far seen only moderate price increases on average, with higher price jumps for particularly exposed COVID-19 trials,” said Mark Piazzi, senior underwriter liability at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).
This was echoed by David Briggs, managing director, life sciences practice at Gallagher, who said every trial was rated on its methods and the kinds of patients involved.