New Wrinkle in Outsourcing Views


Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical TrialsApplied Clinical Trials-10-01-2019
Volume 28
Issue 10

As a new industry survey shows, factoring in a generational cohort surfaces some provocative results related to key health indicators in clinical outsourcing relationships.

Lisa Henderson

The Avoca Group has published the re­sults of its 2018 Industry Report “Clinical Outsourcing Spend and Key Relationships Measures.” In addition, it submitted an ar­ticle based on the results, which is featured in our October digital issue. The results them­selves are interesting enough, but dive into the “Provocative Ideas” presented by Avoca COO Dennis Salotti for some additional food for thought.

In that section, Salotti suggests that individual respondents’ industry tenure and exposure may be becoming more apparent in these results, specific to the key outsourcing health indicators-relationship, quality, delivery, and value. The survey found that respondents working in the industry for less than 10 years were more generous in their satisfaction scores vs. those in industry greater than 10 years. Salotti makes very good observations here. For one, clinical outsourcing has greatly evolved from its origins more than 30 years ago, with significant jumps in just the past 10 years. As Salotti points out, “The trend in outsourced clinical development spend remains consistent with previous waves of research and is forecasted to remain stable through 2021 at around 60% of the total clinical development budget.” And he lays down Tufts CSDD stats for an industry representing $8.5 billion in 2008, now at over $30 billion.

What that all means is that outsourcing now is more the norm, and many professionals travel seamlessly between pharma and CRO. Many in industry less than 10 years may not be aware there were whole conferences devoted to the very subject of this report, the relationship and partnering attributes between the two stakeholders.

Salotti also brings in the generational cohort, referencing surveys of millennials and their outlooks related to the workplace-all workplaces, not specific to clinical trials. And this is not an eye roll to millennials but adds to what could offer potential insight to the underlying Avoca responses. The beginning of the millennial generation is 1981-literally, the oldest are turning 40. I recently had my own eye-opening experi­ence around generational differences on 9/11 when my sons, born in 2002, noted they felt removed from the remembrances because it was outside of their own personal experience. It’s not an insignificant leap to accept that a person’s basic experiences and perceptions are affected by generalizable factors such as generation. Salotti did note that these potential underlying perceptions weren’t examined separately in the surveys, and all require further discussion and study.

The usual caveat, while we focus on the issues and topics on our website throughout the year, the next time we revisit the clinical opera­tions and outsourcing relationships piece in focused issues is next year. In April, we will feature “Does ClinOps Need a Makeover?” driven by re­cent observations that SOPs are driving the development bus and, thus, does the function need a fresh new look? Then next September, the CRO and Sponsor Relationships issue, where we will visit some of these initiatives in play by CROs to address the smaller biopharma needs, as well as trends on the outsourcing front. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our Regulatory Update issue in December, and please participate in our Salary Survey, with results heading your way in January.


Lisa Henderson is Editor-in-Chief of Applied Clinical Trials. She can be reached at Follow Lisa on Twitter: @trialsonline


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