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Running a Tight Ship

When asked to define logistics, many clinical research professionals refer only to shipping and transportation issues. This is a telling point; people are often surprised when they learn how the logistical task facing a central laboratory is so complex. Table 1 shows key aspects related to logistics in clinical research. A central laboratory needs time to prepare the complex logistics associated with a multicentre trial. Logistical issues involving sample transportation must be addressed when using a central laboratory, which require effective time management.

ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME FOR STUDY SETUP

In the past, once a study protocol was finalised and the site selected, but prior to the first patients being recruited, a central laboratory would be engaged. Needless to say, most laboratories accepting this challenge failed to provide fast, reliable transportation logistics. Recently, this has become less common as the advantages of using central laboratories from the very beginning of a clinical trial are becoming increasingly apparent to more clinical teams at pharmaceutical and biotech companies.


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Dr Hermann Schulz is the co-founder and CEO of INTERLAB GmbH in Munich. Before this he held senior R&D positions in the pharmaceutical industry (Merck&Co, Astra-Zeneca/ICI and SCHWARZ), principally in the cardiovascular area. As a visiting professor, he is Head Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology in the postgraduate course, Pharmaceutical Medicine, at the University Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He was a member of the Board of the German Society of Pharmaceutical Medicine for six years and is founding member of the International Association of Central Laboratories, based in London. Hermann has written more than 35 scientific publications and is a regular speaker at international conferences.
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Dr Hermann Schulz
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