When it comes to clinical research, an already small world continues to grow even smaller. In no area is this more evident than site selection for clinical trials.
North America, Western Europe and – to a lesser extent – Australasia once served as prime locations for the majority of research. But these Western markets are approaching saturation, which has led to a lack of naive patients who are available and willing to take part in trials.
Companies have thus turned to new global locations to run trials – an effort made far easier due to the huge improvements that emerging markets have made in investigator and patient identification, as well as regulatory initiatives. In fact, some say that all feasible emerging markets have already emerged, and that there are no other new markets where entry makes sense.
India and Brazil serve as prime examples of rapidly evolving markets for clinical research. Both countries have seen significant investment in infrastructure programs to improve the way they handle clinical trial applications – including trial review – and the granting of import licenses and permits. IMP supplies can be imported relatively quickly to allow trials to occur concurrently with those in Western Europe and North America.
Other global regions have seen a similar rise in attractiveness as clinical sites. Companies have realized significant cost reductions by performing trials in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. In Russia and China, for example, it’s possible to reduce operational costs by conducting trials in large hospitals, which have patient catchment areas that number in the millions and can speed patient recruitment.