Around the holidays, I reminisce about family dinners: three generations under one roof for a few hours, catching up on the past year. My mother presided over the festivities for several decades until her passing. For 10 years, she was a survivor of a rare cancer. She had two surgical resections and treatments before the cancer returned. There was only one approved orphan drug, which was 50 percent effective in decreasing mortality for six months. There weren’t many options in clinical trials and no Internet patient-centric community for information and support.
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a $3.5 million settlement against Primex Clinical Laboratories, a California laboratory providing clinical diagnostic testing services. As if that multimillion-dollar fine was not ominous enough, the DOJ announced another settlement in the same press release: It had imposed a $270,000 fine against the CEO of a related pharmacogenetics testing facility. The alleged wrongdoing centered on “sham” clinical trials, purportedly designed to mask improper payments to physicians who ordered pharmacogenetics tests.
In his recent column, Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, challenged the industry to address the need to raise the standards of professionalism of the clinical research workforce To say that Jim has been obsessed about helping the industry understand the impact that variance in personnel performance has on the quality conduct of clinical research and ultimately, the patient experience, would be an understatement.
Leading a clinical trial at a research site as an investigator is a challenging task. Running a successful study requires the ability to manage budgets, coordinate the activities of support teams, efficiently allocate limited time and resources, and navigate the complexities of regulations and reporting obligations.
According to a common refrain, blockchain will “transform” and “disrupt” the life sciences industry. While the technology’s applications in industries such as banking and broader financial services are readily apparent and, in fact, already being adopted, tangible applications in the life sciences prove more nebulous.
For clinical researchers, patient-centricity is not a buzzword. It reflects a commitment to patients. They should always be at the center of everything we do.
Fall conference season is upon us and a cursory internet search shows no less than a half-dozen conferences focused on the topic of patient-centricity. Thankfully, the momentum around the topic continues as sponsors and CROs strive to find more patient-centric approaches to conducting clinical trials.
According to the 2016 California Workforce Trends in the Life Science Industry, there were 16,000 statewide life science job postings during the calendar year; 2,732 of those jobs related to clinical trials. In 2015, over 85 percent of life science positions required a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Hiring managers expect the strong demand for talent to continue until 2018.