Back to basics - renting or buying?

16/05/2022

There are many important decisions to make when planning what equipment to use in your next clinical trial. The first, and perhaps most important of these, is whether you buy or rent. There are, of course, pros and cons to both routes and, with the nature of clinical trials being like a constant shifting of tides, it can be difficult to know what to do. The decision often comes down to the size and length of the trial, the specific equipment needed and, of course, budget. Purchasing may be perfectly suited for some but, after digging a bit deeper into a trial’s requirements, renting often comes up trumps. It is cost effective, removes many logistical stresses that can crop up during a trial, and eliminates the post-trial headaches associated with equipment disposal.

An easy choice
We talk a lot about supply chains and logistical complexities, and for good reason. Setting up a multisite clinical trial is no easy task and warrants all the support you can get. That’s why choosing to rent can often help alleviate overall stresses and strains and either remove the complexities associated with global logistics entirely or, at the very least, transfer them to a provider. However, the support doesn’t stop after the initial site set-up; when you rent, any piece of equipment is backed by the provider for any troubleshooting or niggles that may arise. With Woodley Trial Solutions, this extends to calibration and maintenance, as well as sending replacements if something breaks down, to minimize any expensive, unplanned downtime. Furthermore, the natural ebb and flow of a trial means that equipment could be needed in new locations, and so engaging with a rental provider allows the flexibility of adding or removing orders from a site as required. 

Post-study problems
Two important post-trial considerations – which are often left neglected when setting up a study, and generally only surface once it has finished – are storage or disposal of purchased equipment. If companies have further trials in the pipeline that require the same equipment, then purchasing could be the right move. However, the costs associated with storage are often very large and some companies don’t have sufficient funds. Additionally, with regulations such as the US Sunshine act stating that used equipment can’t be donated or left at a site, a company can find itself in somewhat of a predicament. Choosing to rent equipment can be the saving grace in these situations because, when a trial ends, the provider takes care of removing all equipment from all locations and transfers it back to a central warehouse, taking full responsibility away from the sponsor.

The cost of improving technology
The speed of technological innovation means that many healthcare products and systems are constantly updated. This begs the question ‘is this equipment still going to be the best on the market in three, four or five years time?’. This may not be true for all devices, of course. Some technologies, like centrifuges or incubators, are unlikely to significantly change in such a short space of time, so it can be a good idea for companies with the appropriate storage facilities to buy and stockpile them in between trials, ready for use. But, more often, renting the same kit from Woodley Trial Solutions simply makes more sense. The benefits include spreading the cost over the course of your trial, ensuring that you can obtain the newest model or highest specification each time, and putting the responsibility of warranties and replacements firmly in someone else’s hands.

Conclusion
When weighing up whether to rent or buy equipment, it’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution – there are benefits to both options. However, our focus at Woodley Trial Solutions is to tailor the approach we take to your trial, using our experience to ease your burden. In the past, for example, we’ve had requests from customers to store their equipment, which is not our usual line of business, but perfectly showcases how we are always willing to find a solution. We always take all of your wants and needs into account, but our expert advice often leans towards the more budget-friendly option of renting – we love sharing the benefits it has for your company and your trial’s success.


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