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How to develop an effective comparator sourcing strategy

Updated: Jan 26

An effective comparator sourcing strategy requires the development of a robust supply chain, forecasting operations, distribution and logistics



A comparator sourcing strategy has many moving parts. Ensuring all these parts work together requires comparator sourcing expertise to maintain product quality, safety and security standards.


Clinical Services International (CSI) has over 25 years of experience in developing effective comparator sourcing strategies. We use our expertise to successfully plan and manage the comparator sourcing supply chain, to help shorten the supply chain process, minimise risk and maximise cost savings.


Here are four steps to develop an effective comparator sourcing strategy.


1. Understand the trial protocol

It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, to gather all the relevant information during the clinical trial supply planning process. We consider a list of initial questions when beginning a project to understand the comparator requirements. These questions include:


  • Which comparator drug is required?

  • What quantity of the comparator is required?

  • Which countries are participating in the trial?

  • Which documents are required for import and export?

  • What is the delivery timeframe for the duration of the study?

  • Is there a generic form of the comparator product available?

After the answers to these questions have been considered, we can then choose the most suitable sourcing strategy, whether it’s using a local, central, market, manufacturer or hybrid approach. Choosing the most appropriate sourcing strategy ensures we stay within stringent budgets and timelines so the product and trial can be delivered successfully.


2. Forecast the supply chain to overcome risks

Forecasting the supply chain helps to improve efficiencies, minimise risk and maximise cost savings. We forecast the supply chain based on the trial protocol to identify where risks may occur and the impact they have on the supply chain. This helps us put measures in place to prevent risks from occurring, ensuring they don’t affect the comparator, trial and data generated.


We look at the different phases of the study and the complexities that arise in each stage. We then employ a 6 step risk management process - identify, evaluate, control, communicate, review and report – to ensure the supply chain is thoroughly considered and costs and trial data can be protected.


3. Leverage global network and supplier relationships

Being unable to source the comparator product in the desired quantity within the trial timeline can prevent the trial from proceeding. Leveraging excellent relationships with audited suppliers, originators and dedicated wholesalers around the world allows us to overcome product shortages and unavailability on the open market.


Working closely with suppliers and manufacturers helps us understand where there are challenges in the supply chain, such as logistics, quantity or expiry, and devise solutions to optimise them. Developing strong relationships ensures we gain intelligence about product changes well before they happen so we can always remain ahead of the market.


4. Choose the right comparator sourcing partner

Developing an effective comparator sourcing strategy is challenging without the right team in place. By partnering with CSI, your comparator sourcing strategy will take the most appropriate route to improve the speed and agility of your clinical trial.


We leverage our global network of over 95 manufacturers to source high-quality comparator drugs and ensure the efficient, effective delivery of your studies. We improve trial success rates by securely sourcing comparator drugs in short supply with the longest expiry, ensuring comparators are available for trial participants at the right place and time.


Contact us to discuss how we source comparators globally to ensure the successful supply of your clinical trials.

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