Availability and sourcing of investigational drugs for paediatric clinical trials is known to be a challenge for investigator-led clinical trials. The National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network: Children (CRN: Children) provides support for formulations and pharmacy related issues to researchers planning and setting up paediatric clinical trials within England. This paper reviews pharmacy and formulation support provided to a consecutive series of investigator-led clinical studies supported by CRN:Children. Case studies are included to describe some of the unique pharmaceutical challenges encountered. 44 trials were reviewed and a total of 103 products were required to support these clinical trials. UK authorised products were suitable for use for 62 of these 103 products. In the remaining 41 cases, 4 could be sourced as an authorised product within the European Union and the remaining 37 required bespoke manufacture. Bespoke manufacture of an investigational drug or placebo is costly. Typical costs for the initial development and testing of a bespoke investigational drug or placebo were in the range of £30,000–100,000 per product. The estimated cost for 19 out of 45 trials was available; in summary, the costs on a per patient per day of therapy basis ranged from under £1 to almost £600; short studies involving multiple agents are obviously the most expensive. This range is dependent upon the need for bespoke manufacture and also the number of participants within the trial. The arrangements for investigational drug supply can greatly affect the study design, regulatory requirements, trial logistics, as well as the total cost of research. As investigational product related activities are often costly, necessitating months of advance planning, it is imperative that specialist inputs are sought from the very start of the study design and planning process.
- clinical trial
- dosage forms