Mastering the Clinical Trials Supply Chain – Navigating the Procurement Iceberg 

When it comes to pharmaceutical procurement for clinical trials, there’s more to it than meets the eye. The procurement iceberg is a great metaphor illustrating the visible and hidden complexities of pharma procurement and the clinical supply chain. 

Above the Waterline: Comparator Sourcing & Negotiation 

The tip of the iceberg, above the water, represents the aspects of pharmaceutical procurement within the clinical trials process that are apparent and easily seen by sponsors and CROs. These include: 

Comparator sourcing: The process of selecting suitable suppliers based on criteria such as cost, quality, reliability, geography, regulatory requirements. 

Negotiations: Agreeing the best price and terms for supplies or services from third parties. 

Below the Waterline:  

The hidden portion of the iceberg represents the challenges that are often overlooked in pharma procurement for a clinical trials supply chain. These are not immediately apparent but can have a significant impact on the overall process. Hidden aspects include: 

Risk Management: Assessing and mitigating the risks associated with supplier relationships such as financial health, geopolitical issues, logistics supply chain concerns. Back-up plans must be in place to cover all eventualities arising from unforeseen events. 

Contract Management: Creating and managing contracts specifying terms and conditions, procedures, performance expectations and the resolving of any disputes.  

Compliance and Regulations: Ensuring that all procurement activities comply with legal and regulatory requirements which can vary across countries and local territories. This includes the possession of any relevant certifications. 

Supplier Relationship Management: Nurturing and maintaining positive relationships with suppliers to foster long-term collaboration but, if need be, the sourcing of alternative suppliers. 

Quality Assurance: Quality assurance covers all aspects of the procurement and supply chain process. This can range from inventory control, data integrity to administration tasks. 

The procurement iceberg shows that successful procurement goes beyond simply sourcing suppliers and negotiating best prices. It highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in supplier management, risk assessment, compliance, and strategic planning. Neglecting these hidden aspects can lead to inefficiencies, legal issues, disruption and most importantly the compromise of patient safety. 

Oximio’s Comparator Sourcing and Supply Chain Solutions 

What a mountain to climb. Thankfully, at Oximio, we have 19 years’ experience and expertise in providing complete, end to end, comparator sourcing and supply chain logistics solutions covering global clinical trials. 

To talk to one of our experts today and find out how we can support you with your clinical trial, simply contact us.