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Testing Trends: Responding to Market Needs

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: October 14, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Some customers see testing as a necessity, and others have an understanding of the business value of screening materials and products. The competitive edge to be gained from having solid claims to put on the label and put in their advertising is important. “Claims support is huge,” said Weiss. He encourages marketers to bring testing labs into the picture at the product planning stages to help understand what the marketer is looking for in terms of claims and define which tests will best help establish those claims. A big factor in meeting deadlines is in having a clear understanding of the claims customers seek. “They have to know what they’re looking for,” Weiss said.

“Today, everyone is looking for antiaging claims,” he said, “but antiaging is not a claim you can make.” Instead, a testing lab can help marketers set up tests to measure things such as skin elasticity and texture. Marketers can help themselves by working to understand how contract research organizations work, claims that can and can’t be made, and the tests required to support those claims—practical matters that can make the testing process more efficient.

“If I could wave a magic wand and eliminate one concern that would help improve service to our customers, it would be that we gain immediate (global) regulatory agency support for nonanimal testing, so that the industry could use a faster, less expensive premarket screening approach without anxiety over inconsistent regulatory reviewer responses,” said Ulmer.

For LeCoque, improving customer service means improving his firm’s ability to encourage a multifunctional approach to assessing the financial value of rapid testing. “Quite often it is QA (quality assurance) that is tasked with looking at a rapid test method,” said LeCoque. “QA is very important, as the actual testing will be done within a QA lab. But at times, QA does not have the larger perspective to understand the full financial impact a move to rapid methods can have on its entire operation.”

Delivering Results

Every testing lab and test method manufacturer offers something different to serve a broad range of customers, but all agree that safety and quality should be everyone’s top considerations. So, whether you are looking for claims substantiation, quality assurance or regulatory compliance, there is a contract research organization out there that understands the pressures and challenges marketers face and is there to face them with you.