BRIC nations, including Brazil, Russia, India and China, are emerging leaders in the global clinical trials landscape, according to the Thomson Reuters report, Overcoming Clinical Challenges in BRIC Markets, which explores the benefits and challenges of conducting clinical trials in the pharmaceutical markets of the BRIC nations.
The study found while increased regulations, evolving clinical standards and complex pipelines have driven some sponsors out of the BRIC nations, a rise in rank for each country is expected over the next four years, indicating blossoming healthcare budgets and markets ripe with opportunities for development.
"Each BRIC nation faces its own challenges as an attractive market for clinical trials, but each also has its own unique landscape and reward," said Jon Brett-Harris, managing director, Thomson Reuters Life Sciences.
In Brazil, the rapidly changing clinical landscape and complexity and lengthiness of approval and import processes have been cited as the biggest drawbacks. The multiple reviews required for placebo trials and the associated timelines and cost also have discouraged global sponsors.
Meanwhile, Russia and India face similar challenges. Regulations in both countries are being enacted faster than foreign pharma companies can keep up with. The upheaval of the healthcare system and tumultuous landscape in Russia are additional barriers.
China is the only BRIC country that has experienced an increase in the number of clinical trials initiated each year. Nevertheless, foreign sponsors continue to face challenges that limit their cost savings in the drug development process.
Despite these issues, the benefits of performing clinical trials in BRIC countries are numerous. A pool of almost three billion patients in research-rich centers across major cities leads to fast recruitment and cost-effective trials. Additionally, increased spending on healthcare and R&D has fostered a growing number of educated and trained health professionals as well as investigational-medicine product manufacturers and central laboratories.
"Industry leaders need to be fully informed of market trends and insights when making strategic decisions," Brett-Harris said.