A study by research fir, Cutting Edge Information (CEI) claims Asia offers clinical development teams ‘unique benefits’ for running trials.
The report explains that amongst pharmerging markets, Asian countries offer the highest number of available patients alongside a “thriving pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry” with medical education among investigators now in line with western expectations for good clinical practice (GCP).
“Asia presents an interesting mix of western knowledge and eastern practice that has resulted in significant scientific and medical advances,” claims the report, “as more companies move clinical trials into this region, they will benefit for years to come from the expertise inherent in Asian markets.”
Three billion volunteers
Jason Richardson, president of CEI, said: “With more than three billion potential volunteers in Asia, clinical teams have been able to accelerate their clinical trials. Many of these populations have not historically had access to high-quality healthcare, so patient recruitment is faster and patient retention is higher.”
Research analyst for CEI, Michelle Vitko, said: “In addition to saving time, all study respondents reported that they saved money by conducting their trials in Asia. Over 50 per cent of our research partners reduced their trial costs by between a quarter and half of traditional operations.”
Challenges and benefits
According to the report, 67 per cent of surveyed executives responsible for clinical operations in China have experienced regulatory delays, serving to remind teams accustomed to working in established markets such as Europe, Japan and the US that clinical trials in Asia still present challenges.
However, the report goes on to say that 63 per cent of those executives still reported time saving as a top competitive benefit for trials conducted in Asia, along with a number of other factors that have improved in the region over the last ten years, including reliability of medical infrastructure and enforcement of intellectual property laws.
“There are fewer competing trials in Asia compared to more established markets, making it easier to recruit patients,” said Richardson, “the patient population also has less exposure to other treatments and therefore more clearly demonstrates new medicine’s effectiveness.”