Clinical Trial Supply 2018 Report: The Quest To Shrink Wastage Levels

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Chanice Henry

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In meeting the growth ahead for clinical trials there must be a focus on efficiency as their supply already suffers from major issues with wastage levels.

This is lack of control is problematic with the rising public scrutiny on spending by pharmaceutical companies. 

Forecasting and demand planning 

When sites are under supplied, sponsors may be forced to halt enrolment or even freeze patient treatments. This could have a large influence on the outcomes of a trial.

Due to a range of factors, study design, patient enrolment, quantity of sites, site location, that can suddenly change the level of supplies needed for a trial to run, supply managers reduce the risk of stock outs by supplying a surplus of medicine. 

This in many cases spills over to become overage – when the investigational medicines have to be wasted at the end of a trial or hit their expiry dates before consumption.



With the price points of medicines rising, this excessive inventory approach is becoming more and more unsustainable.

Some industry commentators maintain that some overage is needed to safeguard the lack of predictability. But the industry’s heady overage rates need shrinking. Especially as public scrutiny on prices and spend of pharma companies heats up.

Cases have occurred where the actual budget of a clinical trial greatly exceeded the expected amount – which could lead to the bankruptcy of a sponsor company

clinical trial supply

Relief from more sophisticated inventory management

In reaching balanced supply strategies which operate on a lower level of over supply, many are finding success with Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRs).

Simulation tools can bolster forecasting plans to calculate the acceptable overage level for a trial.

As well as using machine learning to examine trial data, some are looking to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to enhance and assist with patient enrolment forecasts. – Drug Discovery report.

The exclusive findings of this Pharma Logistics IQ report present a snapshot of how companies are reducing wastage and associated losses within clinical trial supply. Key trouble areas include: comparator sourcing, planning and forecasting, packaging and labelling, new EU regulation and temperature controlled logistics

Temperature controlled logistics packaging is a key investment priority in the quest to minimize wastage in both time and money.

International drug discovery practitioners from the likes of  Pfizer, J&J, Gilead and Mundipharma – have contributed to the research.

All Pharma IQ members have complimentary access to this report.