Best Practices for Successful Clinical Supply

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The demands of clinical trial supply are constantly evolving, with the industry moving towards ever-more-elaborate studies and adaptive clinical trial designs. The progressive developments created by such factors can cause challenges for the clinical supply chain; so, when it comes to managing your global clinical supplies, it’s vital to choose a partner who sticks to first principles and understands how to respond to changing or evolving priorities.

Keep up the pace

Changes made to your trial (e.g. adding additional countries) will inevitably affect demand for supplies. Any subsequent delay created by the additional demand will affect the entire study. It’s vital to stay ahead of these changes; choose dynamic partners who can respond to your demands swiftly without getting stuck in layers of bureaucracy and take potential lead times & costs into account well in advance; this will keep up the pace so that you can change direction quickly if needed.

Stay in the know

Keep abreast of any changes and factor these into the supply plan to avoid delays and meet supply deadlines. Ensure those you are working with are aware of up-and-coming changes to rules or regulations for the countries involved with your clinical trial. Inform stakeholders early of any intended changes to your plans and ask them to do the same in return; agree reporting structures, communication plans and KPI’s which can be monitored. This will allow everyone to adust purchasing/supply plans and to reduce waste.

Allow sufficient lead time

Take into account worst-case lead times for sourcing & supply and ask suppliers to provide these up front. Any missteps in lead time can cause delays with screening or worse, put patients at risk of not receiving treatment.

Set trigger levels for resupplies but agree robust deadlines and purchase dates in your purchasing plans to ensure that you are shielded from any market shortages or manufacturing issues for medicines and medical equipment.

Expect the unexpected

It will happen. Even unforeseen events such as unexpected illness, severe weather or transport strikes can cause significant issues for your clinical supplies. Again, planning ahead and agreeing standards up front will ensure that the effects of such events are mitigated as far as possible; be sure to agree maximum response times and escalation procedures so teams know who to talk with and when should the unexpected arise.


At Client-Pharma, we provide solutions to ensure your clinical trial management is as robust and efficient as possible. Our extensive experience in managing clinical supply and procurement means we are the standard for best practice. This expertise makes us a long-term, trusted partner of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

For support or to find out more information about clinical trial services, clinical trial solutions and comparator sourcing, see our website. You can also contact us via email ( or telephone (0044 1283 260054).

Posted on July 16, 2017

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