Number of Clinical Trials Conducted Abroad Increasing
The pharmaceutical industry is conducting more clinical trials outside of the United States in part to lower costs, expedite approval and test drugs in countries where they will be sold, USA Today reports. About 21% of drug industry spending for human drug testing was outside of the United States in 2004, up from 18% in 2000. Drug companies indicate that the number of U.S.-based clinical trials is not declining as "much as foreign ones are increasing," USA Today reports. Companies can reduce human testing costs by 10% to 50% by conducting trials in Eastern Europe, Asia and Central and South America, Ronald Krall, head of development for GlaxoSmithKline, said. Clinical and hospital costs are lower outside of the United States, and patient recruitment is less time consuming.
In addition, Henry Gabelnick of Conrad, a reproductive health agency, said that companies are basing clinical trials in countries where there is greater incidence of some diseases. For example, Conrad next month will begin testing a vaginal gel to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS in four African countries and India, where infection rates are higher. Fred Fiedorek, vice president of clinical research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said more clinical trials are being conducted abroad in part because some nations, such as Japan, request that drugs are tested on their own populations before they are approved for use. In addition, international standards for administering clinical trials have been more widely adopted (Schmit, USA Today, 5/17).