National survey of comprehensive pharmacy services provided in cancer clinical trials

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Abstract

Purpose.

Pharmacy services provided in clinical trials at National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated centers were assessed.

Methods.

This was a cross-sectional survey of 61 NCI-designated cancer centers. Directors of pharmacy were contacted and data were collected electronically via Qualtrics over 2 months. Trial participants were asked to estimate the frequency that their sites performed 26 services and the perceived importance of these services. Services were examined with respect to the difference between their reported performance and their reported importance. Eight of the 26 services showed a difference of at least 40% between the proportion of respondents performing the activities “often” or “almost always” and the proportion considering them “important” or “very important.” Demographic information was collected, as well as perceived barriers.

Results.

Survey response rate was 59% (36 out of 61). The majority of services for clinical trials (19 out of 26) were viewed as important for pharmacists to perform; however, less than half (10 out of 26) were performed more than 50% of the time. Eight services had a gap of more than 40% when comparing the importance versus extent of implementation. Some of the largest gaps were reported in investigator-initiated trials development, medication reconciliation, therapeutic drug monitoring, and oral chemotherapy adherence assessment. Future studies can assist with cost justification by demonstrating the regulatory, safety, and financial benefits of pharmacist involvement in cancer trials.

Conclusion.

A survey of pharmacy directors at cancer centers revealed gaps between what respondents considered important pharmacist services in the provision of cancer clinical trials and the actual performance of those services in their institution.

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