Thermo Fisher Scientific has expanded its direct-to-patient (DTP) service offerings. The range now includes clinical site-to-patient, pharmacy-to-patient, and depot-to-patient services, so that patients can receive medication and supplies directly to their homes.
The DTP service builds on Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical site-to-patient offering that launched earlier in 2020, designed to make sure trial participants have access to life-saving investigational drug shipments with no need to travel to a clinic. The services are available in 47 different countries.
Philipp ab Egg, service line director of pharma services at Thermo Fisher Scientific, spoke to Outsourcing-Pharma about the program, and how the patient-centric service benefits participants, trial teams and others.
OSP: Could you please share how the use of direct-to-patient services might impact patient recruitment, retention and engagement?
PA: The traditional clinical trial model doesn’t consider the hurdles patients sometimes face when participating in a trial. Obstacles such as time and money spent on commuting to the trial site or absences from work are often discounted.
Direct-to-patient services can address certain pain points by delivering medication directly to patient homes and offering participants more flexibility in their trial involvement. This ease of service can enhance recruitment and retention rates as patients prefer trials that are convenient to their schedule or location.
When decision makers do not take into account the personal sacrifices of patients, they face under-enrollment and high dropout rates that impact study duration and cost. Direct-to-patient offerings have shown sponsors the value of patient centricity. Delivering medication directly to the patient can reduce patient burden, enhance retention and significantly reduce trial lengths.
OSP: How does your DTP service help sites/sponsors conserve costs?
PA: Running a clinical trial is expensive and drop-out rates directly impact the duration and costs associated with a trial. Dispensing Investigational Medicinal Products (IMPs) and clinical supplies from one stockpile to study sites or direct-to-patient homes as needed enables flexibility in the supply chain, which is often a patient need. This reduces waste and minimizes the storage space needed at clinical sites.
OSP: Does Thermo Fisher Scientific partner with other vendors (i.e. home-health nursing agencies) to deliver some or all of the DTP program components?
PA: For patients participating in hybrid or virtual trials, Thermo Fisher provides additional services such as shipment coordination with the corresponding home nurse's visit and plans to expand service offerings over time.
OSP: How does your DTP service address some of the pain points a trial team might be concerned about in a direct-to-patient service—i.e. timely and reliable delivery of trial drugs, qualified home-health personnel, etc?
PA: Thermo Fisher Scientific understands that at the center of every clinical trial is a patient awaiting treatment that must arrive safely and on-time. Our full end-to-end service addresses this, and includes the required shipping materials, temperature monitoring when applicable and white glove delivery service to patients’ homes. We also provide transportation efficiencies while ensuring product security and industry compliance.
OSP: Do you have anything to add?
PA: The teams at Thermo Fisher Scientific are very happy that we can help reduce the burden for patients to participate in clinical trials with our Direct-to-Patient services in 47 countries.