Contract research organizations for outsourcing pharmaceutical research in Ireland: an industrial insight
This study analysed the evolving landscape of pharmaceutical research outsourcing, with a specific focus on contract research organizations (CROs) in Ireland. By investigating the motivations, factors, challenges, and implications of pharmaceutical research outsourcing, this study contributes to an understanding of outsourcing practice within the Irish pharmaceutical industry. The research objectives consisted of exploring the drivers for outsourcing, identifying commonly outsourced research areas, investigating the criteria for selecting CRO partners, and examining challenges and future directions.
The research methodology adopted was qualitative research, wherein semi-structured interviews with professionals directly involved in decision-making processes within pharmaceutical companies based in Ireland were conducted over zoom calls. Thematic analysis was employed, unveiling significant themes such as motivations for outsourcing, commonly outsourced areas, key factors in CRO selection, challenges, and emerging trends.
Findings indicated that while cost reduction is a driving factor, smaller pharmaceutical firms are motivated by budget constraints. Pharmacovigilance and clinical trials were most commonly outsourced areas according to the interviewees. Collaborative abilities and expertise emerged as pivotal with respect to CRO selection criteria. Challenges included staying updated with regulatory guidelines and managing staff turnover in outsourced projects. The study also helps to forecast future trends, highlighting the growing need for management-based expertise within the pharmaceutical industry.
This research provides insights for stakeholders in the Irish pharmaceutical landscape, both contract research organizations and pharmaceutical firms, encouraging collaboration, addressing skill gaps, and optimizing outsourcing strategies. Furthermore, it culminates in the realization that industry's dynamics are dependent on the constituting it.