The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Investigational Drug Services (IDS) oversees all pharmacy procedures and processes for Hillman and clinical sites where Hillman-sponsored studies are implemented. The service is responsible for coordinating and managing the investigational drug inventory, storage, distribution, and record keeping for UPMC Hillman Cancer Center clinical research studies. The IDS facilitates the conduct of early phase clinical trials throughout the network sites by developing strategies for drug preparation and delivery in sites that are not currently involved in clinical trials.
All protocols are reviewed by IDS pharmacists early in the developmental phase to identify any IDS-related issues (including the pharmaceutical and clinical pharmacy requirements). Reviews include an assessment of drug handling issues, implementation requirements, development of procedures for drug preparation at each treatment site, and impact of study-related drug costs on protocol development and implementation.
The IDS is also responsible for:
- Drug management
- Investigational drug supply (including development of protocol-specific and site-specific pharmacy drug management procedures)
- Development and/or adaptation of protocol-specific guidelines for written medication or medications used in the clinical studies
- Maintaining all investigational medications in secured areas of clinical sites
- Maintaining drug accountability records for investigational medications
- Coordination of medication distribution to the clinical sites involved in clinical studies
- Routine quality assurance of drug handling
Quality assurance includes monitoring of drug accountability records, a coding system, and a system for labeling investigation drugs with new expiration notices. The IDS provides important infrastructure support for the coordination of studies within the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center network and works with each clinical site to develop the appropriate implementation plan on a protocol-by-protocol basis.