Without pharmacy technicians, clinical trial activity in the NHS simply would not be as safe or efficient.
As a pharmacist leading a clinical trials service and someone that sets up clinical trials in an NHS setting, I sincerely value and respect the qualities and skills pharmacy technicians bring to the pharmacy clinical trials workforce. I also recognise there are many, many other roles that pharmacy technicians have in pharmacy. This blog is intended to shine a light on an area of pharmacy not often understood or associated with pharmacy technicians, who have a fundamental role in a pharmacy clinical trials service.
I have the privilege of working in an area of pharmacy where pharmacy technicians are integral members of the team and are critical to the success of setting up, opening, maintaining and closing clinical trials. Clinical trial pharmacy technicians are involved in assessing if the Sponsor’s requirements for a new study are plausible, can be supported physically with storage and preparation for supply, and are a key contact between research teams, the Sponsor, R&D and clinical trials pharmacists.
The clinical trials pharmacy technicians also create worksheets for the Investigational Medicinal Products (IMPs) that will be made in the aseptic unit, create sample labels, ensure stock levels of IMP are maintained as well as very important, supporting visits from Sponsors that monitor our activities. This is to ensure data integrity throughout the course of the study is maintained which is a key aspect of Good Clinical Practice (GCP), a set of international standards that clinical trials must adhere to.
The Clinical Trials Dispensary at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is technician-led, with all clinical trial medication checked and handed out by Accredited Checking Technicians (ACTs). They also support patients and nurses with queries about the supply of clinical trial medication.
From working with pharmacy technicians, I’ve learnt how often they think of practical and effective solutions, how patient-centred their approach is and how strong their relationship-building skills are with patients and healthcare professionals alike.
I enjoy working with all our pharmacy technicians and want to say a big thank you. You are very valued and I believe, make the profession of pharmacy stronger.
Nisa Khan, Lead Clinical Trials Pharmacist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.