Leading VRO Partners with Australia’s Largest Chain of Retail Pharmacies

    ObvioHealth is a leading virtual research organisation (VRO) that conducts decentralised clinical trials to deliver stronger therapeutic evidence to trial sponsors. Chemist Warehouse is Australia’s largest chain of retail pharmacies. The two have recently joined forces.

    With the partnership, both companies are committed to transforming the clinical trial landscape in Australia. They aim to enable more convenient and efficient health research. 

    These two giants have formed a coalition to make clinical research more accessible. This will ultimately lead to a significant increase in patient recruitment.

    Under the partnership, Chemist Warehouse is expected to take a multichannel communication approach. Using both online and in-store touchpoints, it will raise awareness about ObvioHealth-managed trials among its user base. This multi-faceted, multichannel targeted trial approach involves using Chemist Warehouse’s range of media assets. These include wellness magazines, TV shows, and newspaper editorial inserts. As a result, more participants are expected to know about and contribute to the trials conducted by the VRO. 

    Jack Gance, Co-founder and Chairman at Chemist Warehouse, marks this move “as a logical extension of the company’s complete line of clinical health and provider services.”

    “Not only is this a win for trial sponsors, but also for the participants—our customers—who will have access to trials they never knew existed,” said Gance. “Our stores are part of everyday life in Australian neighbourhoods, and our pharmacists are trusted members of those communities. As a dependable health and wellness source, we are eager to educate our customers about new opportunities that might be relevant to their health.” 

    For clinical trials that require patient assessment, ObvioHealth gets to leverage Chemist Warehouse’s high-end telehealth services—Instant Consult. This ground-breaking move limits the need for in-clinic visits. As such, it will help decrease the burden on participants and their caregivers. As a result, accessibility to healthcare studies will improve because participants will be able to contribute to clinical research from home. Implementing telehealth services in clinical trial models also allows for more efficient follow-up for study protocols and enhances compliance. 

    In addition, telehealth offers increased productivity gains for participants and sponsors through cost savings. It enables sponsors to design a more inclusive and culturally appropriate care environment for individuals from diverse backgrounds or special populations. The result is a faster rollout of more effective therapeutics to market. 

    Recently, Australia saw a significant upshot in its clinical trial activities. In addition, the country offers a globally competitive clinical trial landscape with data accepted by the FDA and EMA, facilitating the commercialisation of life-improving therapeutics in the US and EU.

    In 2021, GlobalData analysed clinical trials protocol data. It found that the country reported an increase of 27% in its trial activity compared with 2019. Meanwhile, during this forecast period, trial activity saw a significant plunge in countries like the UK, Germany, and Spain. This surge in clinical trials has been attributed to two factors. The first is Australia’s excellent COVID-19 management plan. The second is the country’s streamlined regulatory process and offshore tax incentives for Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSHC) R&D. This programme offers companies the opportunity to significantly slash costs, and minimise potential risk.

    However, bottlenecks still prevail in the country’s research landscape that impede faster time to market. “Two of the biggest recruitment hurdles are awareness and convenience, and this partnership tackles both,” explained Ivan Jarry, the CEO of ObvioHealth. “The ability to communicate trial opportunities to an audience in a place where they are likely to be receptive, coupled with telehealth services to reduce participant burden, makes sense all around.”

    11% of clinical trial sites fail to recruit even a single patient. 37% of sites are under-recruiting. Therefore, enrollment strategies must be addressed efficiently throughout the trial process.

    With the partnership, ObvioHealth and Chemist Warehouse are committed to helping CROs effectively tackle the two leading recruitment challenges—convenience and awareness.

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