IBM Clinical Development Blog

The Top 4 Emerging International Markets for Clinical Research

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 31, 2015 1:58:00 PM / by Amy Young

Topics: Clinical outsourcing, international growth


 It’s no secret that clinical trials are a world-wide operation. Which markets are the hottest right now?

A recent analysis found that from 2007 to 2011, the number of clinical trials registered in emerging countries went up, while the amount of studies registered in the United States and Western Europe experienced a decline.

Wondering which regions and countries are trending these days? Here’s a breakdown:

1. Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific is home to two-thirds of the world’s population and offers many advantages, such as quicker patient recruitment, streamlined study start-up, and cost savings. The region has a diverse number of disease states and therapeutic conditions compared to some other markets, especially in infectious disease.

In this part of the world, China, India, and Korea are the fastest-growing settings for clinical trials. (In fact, we've written extensively about the advantages - and cautions - of conducting research in China.)   

Plus, for a variety of reasons, South Korea is emerging as a popular destination for early phase clinical trials (along with China, Russia, Australia, and Singapore). 

The increased interest in Asia-Pacific is driving an improved clinical research infrastructure in many of the region's countries. While the most action is happening in China, countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are also experiencing growth. 

2. Latin America

By some estimates, trials in Latin America cost 30 percent less than those in the United States or Western Europe. This is attributed to easier patient enrollment and retention because of the region's treatment-naïve patient population and concentration of people in large metropolitan areas.  Notable trending countries in the region include Guatemala, Ecuador, and Panama.

3. Central and Eastern Europe

In Central Europe, the countries of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia are becoming magnets for clinical researchers, with growth there estimated at nearly 10% over the past few years

In Eastern Europe, Russia remains an attractive location for clinical research, despite what some claim is a challenging regulatory environment. Over 3,000 trials are ongoing in Russia in 2015, up from 2,700 in 2012.

Industry leaders name the prevalence of centralized health systems and improved healthcare infrastructure as the reason for the growth of global studies in this region.  

4. Africa

While Africa may not be the "hottest" clinical research destination, interest is growing - especially in South Africa. There, the number of registered studies has grown from 1,600 in 2013 to nearly 2,075 in 2015. According to South African researchers, the country's genetically diverse population, good exchange rate, high burden of traditional and lifestyle diseases, and well-established research infrastructure make it a good place to do clinical trials. 

Doing business with the world? Make sure you have the right technology. 

There's a lot to think about when conducting research on a global scale: logistics, language barriers, regulatory concerns, and the list goes on.  But have you thought about your EDC system? You should.  

At eClinicalOS, we've designed our platform to be a true world player. How? Well, not ony do we offer on-the-fly translation within the system in more than 80 languages, we also provide customer support 24/7/365 to account for every time zone. Plus, our (extremely busy) regulatory department stays on top of rapidly changing rules and regulations in the more than 80 countries currently using our platform.  

If you're not using the eCOS system yet, why not give it a test drive?  We'll be happy to show you how it all works, including how you can use the system to conduct resesarch in every country and every time zone, all over the world.   

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Amy Young
Written by Amy Young