The COVID-19 pandemic elevated the critical nature of global supply chains and underscored their vital importance in the healthcare market. As the world faced lockdowns, cargo flight reductions, material inventory shortages, and staffing issues, trial sponsors, clinical research organizations, and study teams had to collaborate to ensure trial continuity without compromising on time and cost. Let’s look at some key considerations and solutions for optimizing inventory management in clinical trials.
Sponsors must be prepared for potential roadblocks, such as drug or material shortages, natural disasters, or other public health issues. A comprehensive and agile clinical supply chain approach becomes crucial to strengthen trial efficiencies and anticipate challenges.
Cost-Effective Supply and Distribution Strategy
Creating a cost-effective and efficient supply and distribution strategy is critical to clinical supply chain management. With an experienced team overseeing the process, a detailed analysis of areas that add cost and time can be conducted to optimize the supply delivery process.
A key element of an effective supply plan is the integration of Interactive Response Technology (IRT). This allows for accurately tracking shipment frequency and distribution costs and ensuring adequate supply reaches patients.
IRT provides end-to-end visibility for stakeholders, enabling supply chain managers to monitor investigational product movements in real-time and address issues promptly. It seamlessly integrates with vendor systems and patient data, streamlining supply management.
Forecasting inventory ensures sufficient drug availability for patient visits and reduces wastage at trial completion. Real-time data and analytics aid in making informed supply management decisions. Efficient distribution through cost- and time-effective logistical channels, closely monitored via the IRT platform, further enhances supply chain efficiency.
Temperature excursion management at both kit and shipment levels ensures the integrity and quality of temperature-controlled product movements. Drug expiry management is vital in reducing the volume of expired drugs returned upon trial closure.
This level of process visibility is particularly crucial for novel design trials, such as cell and gene therapy, which involve intricate logistics that may lead to treatment wastage if not efficiently planned and executed. With a comprehensive supply and distribution plan, sponsors can anticipate challenges, reduce costs, and enhance efficiencies in future clinical trials.
The primary objective for sponsors and partners is to mitigate risks without compromising time, budget, and drug resources while prioritizing process efficiencies. In the intricate drug development landscape, proactive planning and ensuring the availability of investigational products and study materials are essential to maintaining seamless trial continuity for needy patients.
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