The one question you should ask your comparator sourcing partner
How can you be sure that your comparator sourcing partner will provide you with the best available solution? How do you know that the company has a truly global reach? How do you know whether your partner could save you hundreds of thousands of pounds, or not? Vanessa Dekou, CEO at Clinical Services International, identifies the key element that can help you make the right choice for your clinical trial supplier.
There are multiple articles, podcasts and the like on the importance of ‘knowing what you don’t know’, because people make bad decisions when they have incomplete information. As a comparator sourcing partner, it’s just as important that we aim to reduce what we don’t know, and consolidate what we do, into an accurate and up-to-date overview. After all, how else can we evaluate whether the solution we’re offering a client is a worthwhile investment for them?
Data collection is vital to serving our clients well, and behind every two-line confirmation email saying “Yes, we can help” is an army of researchers working away to find the most comprehensive solution to each of our clients’ comparator sourcing problems. One of the challenges of global comparator sourcing is ensuring that our understanding remains up to date. Last quarter’s preferred supplier for a particular drug in a given country may not be offering the best deal this quarter. It takes time, energy and a commitment to research to ensure that data remains useful; if it is inaccurate or misleading, it can waste valuable time or, worst of all, fail to help us secure the very best solution for our clients. And that is something we simply cannot accept.
“Behind every two-line confirmation email is an army of researchers working away to find the most comprehensive solution to our client’s comparator sourcing problem.”
Solving a client’s problem requires a thorough understanding of what we are dealing with; as the old adage goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ Without knowing the scope of a clinical trial and nailing down the details – comparators, timelines, quantities, etc. – it’s almost impossible to develop a comprehensive solution, even with an excellent global network of suppliers and manufacturers. We’re also keen to fully understand a client’s key concerns, so that we can offer alternative packages to suit their needs. For example, a more expensive product may be available within a shorter time frame than a cheaper alternative, and our client can make the final call as to whether time or money is the priority.
Before responding to a client’s request, we need to ‘map the market’ and undertake extensive research to understand global comparator availability, quantity, cost, import and export regulations, and logistics – there’s an awful lot to consider!
For example, it might be that a supplier in a small market such as Greece or Bulgaria can offer the lowest price, but simply cannot offer the quantity required for a large clinical trial. In addition, it’s important to have a handle on the product usage per country to forecast potential disruptions in comparator supply.
“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” Carly Fiorina, former CEO at Hewlett-Packard
In everyday life, we are used to shopping around for a better deal rather than going with the first item we find, and we don’t expect a product’s price to increase for no discernible reason. Knowledge is power, and the same holds for comparator sourcing. Keeping track of price hikes and reductions, and alternative suppliers often enables us to negotiate a better deal for our clients, or walk away from an offer that on reflection is not as promising as it first seems. Reliable data enables us to determine what a ‘good deal’ really looks like.
At CSI, we’re proud to stand by our belief that all our clients deserve the very best service, whether they are sourcing comparators worth thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of pounds. Delivering this kind of service is made much easier when we can draw on an extensive database, and offer an overview of drug pricing, quantities, suppliers, etc. across the world. Rather than starting from scratch each time, we can simply build on our existing knowledge and connections, with each new project refining and contributing to our overall understanding of the global market and supply chains.
Since our founding, CSI has recognised the value of data in delivering excellent service and value for money. Our ongoing research and methodical approach to capturing and organising data allows us to truly evaluate and identify the ideal comparator sourcing package for our clients. So, when it comes to choosing your next partner, why not ask the following simple question:
If the answer doesn’t mention extensive data collection, management and ongoing research, then it’s time to contact CSI and discover for yourself how comprehensive our service is.
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