Talking to investors on the company's third-quarter results conference call, IQVIA CEO Ari Bousbib set out how staffing pressures are affecting both his own business and the sites that enroll and treat patients.
“It happens to be that what we have been dealing with ... very high levels of attrition. People have a hard time going back to work. We have a harder time recruiting the skill sets that we require, plus the impact on cost of labor that all of that has. All of these factors in combination are a significant, or the single most important, operational challenge we have seen,” said Bousbib.
Some sites that IQVIA works with to execute trials are facing similar challenges. On the third quarter call, the service provider added investigator staff shortages at certain sites to the list of macro challenges it faces.
IQVIA cited site staffing issues as a factor in its decision to reduce its full-year guidance, lowering the midpoint of the range by $100m. Bousbib set out how the issues contributed to the lower sales outlook for the year.
“As we end the year, we are anticipating some minor delays in the timing of deliveries caused by this macro-disruptions and specifically by the bottlenecks that are created by staff shortages at certain sites and that are delaying the execution of our deliveries,” said the CEO.
Bousbib, quoting talks at a clinical trial summit last month, called the investigator site staffing issues an industry-wide development. An analyst brought up the topic of site staff shortages on Thermo Fisher Scientific’s quarterly results conference call, although CEO Marc Casper focused his response on the part of the question about the effect of wage inflation on its clinical research unit PPD.
“The way wage inflation works in that business is it gets passed through in the normal course pricing in the contract, so that you could have a quarter or something lag. But effectively if there is unusual wage inflation this gets passed through to the customer base, so I don’t see any particular significant challenge there,” said Casper.