Clinical Trials in Asia

Clinical development teams are looking toward emerging markets in Asia because each has its own unique market quality.

Clinical development teams are looking more toward smaller Asian countries with emerging markets rather than India and China, according to a report by Cutting Edge Information.

According to the clinical research report, development teams typically looked into India and China because they were the two largest members of the BRIC countries. Now, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines are being considered more often for their own unique market qualities.

"India and China opened the door for [pharmaceutical] companies to consider focusing on Asia for large parts of their clinical development strategy," says Adam Bianchi, chief operating officer at Cutting Edge Information, in a statement. "Now we see a more sophisticated breakdown of country-by-country benefits and costs. Many of our benchmark partners are champions within their companies for this change of perspective."

Asian countries are often used for clinical development because they offer the highest number of patients, the report says. They also have strong physician-patient relationships, which these companies can tap into to boost enrollment and retention for studies.

One company in the study found that the Philippines’ regulatory environment and medical infrastructure offer a solid base for clinical research. However, the report says, companies make the mistake of approaching specific emerging markets with regional strategies when they should be developing detailed plans for running trials in each market.

Another area of concern for companies tapping into the Asian emerging markets is intellectual property. According to the report, Asia has a reputation for poor intellectual property protections. Luckily, there has been progress, according to the studies.