Clinical trial pharmacists supporting research at Grampians Health

Wednesday 5 June 2024
Pictured; Clinical trial pharmacists Wei Soh Pictured; Clinical trial pharmacists Wei Soh

At Grampians Health, clinical trial pharmacists Wei Soh and Jieun Bae are an integral part of research being undertaken at the hospital.

Across the more than 100 clinical trials that are currently active at Grampians Health, clinical trial pharmacists play a vital role in ensuring that trial investigational medicines being dispensed to patients meet rigorous safety standards. And for Mr Soh, each day can be quite varied depending on the type of clinical trial that he is a part of.  

“Every trial is different so we ensure the processes are followed and the right checks and balances are in place to ensure the patient can go ahead with the trial drug safely,” he said. 

“We are the main point of call for all medication-related enquiries, and we dispense the drugs to patients, counsel them on their effects and monitor them to ensure that there are no side effects and no interactions with other medications they are on. We are also part of feasibility process where new trials are being considered and we are also involved in negotiation with pharmaceutical companies.” 

Mr Soh and Ms Bae’s duties are not limited to these. Part of multidisciplinary teams, clinical trial pharmacists are also responsible for protocol compliance, safety monitoring, quality control, documentation, participant education, and collaboration with fellow healthcare professionals. 

"We are immensely grateful for the exceptional work of Mr Soh and Ms Bae in upholding the integrity and rigor of our clinical trials," said Matthew Hadfield, Chief Medical Officer at Grampians Health.  

"Their dedication to patient-focused care and meticulous attention to detail significantly contribute to the success of our research trials at Grampians Health.” 

For Mr Soh, becoming a clinical trial pharmacist was coincidental. “I had the opportunity to cover for someone working in clinical trial pharmacy and I began to enjoy the process around it and to apply my prior clinical knowledge and skills,” he said. 

Seven years on from then, Mr Soh adds that he enjoys his work on clinical trials at Grampians Health. 

“The role of a clinical trial pharmacist is quite unique because there are lots of areas that you’re responsible for from speaking to industry pharmaceuticals to looking at the feasibility of the trials as not everything might be feasible to work on.” 

Grampians Health has run over 150 clinical trials, a significant amount for a regional centre, and currently has over 100 clinical trials actively running across disciplines including allied health, anaesthetics, cardiology, emergency, haematology, infectious diseases, intensive care medicine, neurology, nursing, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, paediatrics, and surgery. 

“At Grampians Health, we are proud to be undertaking clinical trials that aim to address some of the pressing health issues and improve health outcomes. More importantly, we are proud to run these in regional Victoria, giving the local community a chance to be part of clinical trials that could have a positive impact on solving some of the chronic ailments affecting us today,” said Mr Hadfield. 

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