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3 Factors to consider when sourcing comparator drugs for clinical trials

From early stage biotech to the biggest of global pharma, every sponsor organisation is different, and every clinical trial presents unique challenges for sourcing, packaging and distributing clinical trial materials. Having the right comparator drug supplier provides maximum flexibility and options, and the ability to better identify risks. But how do you choose the right supplier for your comparator sourcing? Read on for helpful tips on what to look for.



Clinical supplies professionals regularly find themselves juggling responsibilities and wearing many hats. They must manage both their clinical colleagues and their vendors, and find themselves short on time while being challenged to deliver products faster than ever and drive down trial cost.

In many therapeutic areas, products are increasingly expensive, and patients hard to recruit. Striking a balance between continuous supply and excessive overage is essential, as is protecting the supply chain from falsified or counterfeit drugs and ensuring safe and timely delivery to sites and patients.

Three strong points are needed in a comparator drug sourcing partner to help overcome those challenges and deliver outstanding results in an increasingly complex and competitive clinical trial landscape:

     1. Global network

It is common for a modern clinical trial to be spread over four or more continents. Knowing which products are registered, launched and available in different territories during trial planning is crucial to avoiding problems downstream. The right provider has a global comparator network and can provide timely and accurate assessments of what products are needed, where they are available, how much they cost and how long they take to source. They can also provide guidance on how often to source and label, and where to store and distribute materials.

Learn how Clinigen's On-Demand comparator sourcing model benefited a multi-country global clinical trial for a large pharmaceutical company:

Read the Case Study

     2. Established relationships with branded and generic manufacturers

Access to high-value branded products may be restricted by their innovator, and lower value generics can be plagued by shortages. It is fundamental to work with a vendor with a strong track record and long term exclusive relationships with manufacturers and distributors. The right provider can help educate stakeholders on the challenges of commercial drug sourcing, ensure that expectations are aligned, and robust processes are in place across the supply chain, and even add value in ways you might not have considered.

     3. Experience that allows agility

Working with an experienced partner is crucial. No matter how well-prepared you are, the unexpected can happen. Recruitment forecasts can be wildly inaccurate, new sites or countries can be added, and regulations can change, which can have a major effect on cost-effectiveness. The more experience you have assisting you in designing and executing supply chain and regulatory strategy, the better.

With its unique global footprint, strategic approach and established relationships, Clinigen Clinical Supplies Management is experienced in adapting to product changes, drug shortages and logistical hurdles. As a single end-to-end clinical services provider, it can supply not only comparators, but also implement a tailored and comprehensive packaging, labelling and distribution programme. Clinigen also offers compassionate use and unlicensed medicine solutions and can act as a commercialisation partner.

As market leaders in Comparator Sourcing, Clinigen offers smart and flexible strategies to provide clients with unrivalled access to medicines and ancillaries, as well as direct access to a global network of manufacturers, audited third-party suppliers, and approved distributors.

Learn more about our exclusive On-Demand consignment model that provides instant access to key EU generic oncology products, eliminating long lead times and helping you reduce costs.​

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As market leaders in Comparator Sourcing, Clinigen offers smart and flexible strategies to provide you with unrivalled access to medicines and ancillaries. From exclusive distribution agreements to On-Demand sourcing, we pioneer new supply strategies to help your trial run as efficiently as possible and eliminate long lead times.​