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Five ways to make clinical trial supplies cost-effective

Updated: Jan 26

There are many drivers that affect the cost of clinical trials including the cost of supplies and equipment, increased regulations, transportation and logistics, patient recruitment and complex procedures

Streamlining the supply chain and ironing out risks can help to reduce costs and save resources.

As a world-leading comparator sourcing partner, CSI delivers the best solutions to ensure your clinical trial runs smoothly, within the most stringent budgets and timelines.

Our supply chain management expertise ensures the successful delivery of your clinical trial.

Here are 5 ways CSI achieves a cost-effective clinical trial supply chain:

1. Early incorporation of trial supply management

Incorporating supply chain management in the protocol design stage ensures that your clinical trial is efficient and cost-effective. By forecasting the supply chain, you can identify risks and mitigate them prior to conducting the trial. This will help to prevent making changes during trial conduct which can incur significant costs and increase timelines.

With a well-forecasted clinical supply chain, you can include detailed consideration of trial design, or study-specific lead times, kit designs, country-specific challenges, and logistics associated with manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of supplies, particularly where product blinding is involved.

2. As-needed supplies and just in time deliveries

A significant cost driver in clinical trials is product wastage. Without sufficient trial details including the number of participants, trial timeframes, product dosage and product expiry dates, it’s impossible to ensure the correct supply arrives at the trial sites at the right time.

Packaging and labelling products on an as-needed basis and using a just in time delivery solution helps to reduce unnecessarily high levels of stock, avoid oversupply, and prevent having to make costly changes in the middle of trial conduct.

3. Implement a robust risk management process

Risk management is an essential part of clinical trials to ensure you can generate a clear return on investment without disruptions. Each clinical trial has its own complexities based on the comparator, data, stock shortages which can delay timelines and increase costs. Mistakes can prove very expensive and more importantly, put patient safety at risk.

The risk management process can be carried out in six clear steps from identification to reporting. While there may be some additional actions taken within the process such as time and resources, the benefit of having detailed risk management ensures your costs and data can be protected.

4. Bespoke sourcing strategies

CSI will work closely with you to devise the most appropriate and cost effective strategy depending on the study design. i.e single country, multi-sites or multiple countries multi-sites, open label or double blind.

Locally sourcing products in the same country as the trial helps to reduce costs associated with importing and exporting products out of the country, packaging and labelling. However it might not be the most appropriate for global studies. We have multiple options available to ensure the sourcing strategy is best suited to your study protocol.

5. Direct-to-patient distribution

Delays and inefficiencies can equate to significant financial loss. If product acquisition is delayed, the window to package, label and distribute is shortened and there might be no medication available at the site for patients.

Direct to patient distribution improves the cost-effectiveness of the comparator supply chain by increasing patient retention and compliance. Just in time deliveries enable immediate distribution in direct to patient trials, allowing for more deliveries, tighter deadlines, and fewer errors.

Calculating shipping times and costs at the protocol design level enables supply chain managers to forecast the feasibility of the study and iron out design flaws before implementing them.

Working with an expert comparator sourcing and clinical trial supplier like CSI ensures the most efficient and cost-effective supply chain helping you save money along the way and deliver your study on time and budget with minimum wastage.

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