|Growing at an annual rate of 9.4 percent, Asia is booming in this sector as it overcomes the burgeoning challenge of consistent patient recruitment and retention. In addition, the changes in the patent and pharma laws are further strengthening the industry. As CROs benefit from treatment naïve patients of genetic diversity, the region benefits from cost advantages. F&S has defined the importance of national governments for this industry to promote capabilities of markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Most of the trials are outsourced in the Phase II and III of trials.
With a population of over 4 billion, Asia is a lucrative market for sponsors and vendors. According to F&S, the Asian CRO market will reach $2bn by 2010. India, China, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan pose as viable options. China and India pose the greatest opportunity due to improvements in research infrastructure and regulations on intellectual property, entry of large multinational pharmaceutical companies, and a large patient pool for conducting trials. China is particularly suitable for studies that require a mongoloid population. The country is also useful for conducting Japanese studies sharing the same time zone. Furthermore, China only has one regulatory body, though the barrier exists with Chinese being the only language in the region.
According to PharmaAsia, India’s clinical research industry is currently valued at US$100 million. The forces attracting players include the large pool of patient populations, English-speaking scientific and healthcare professionals, adequate healthcare facilities and lower costs of conducting trials. In addition, the country is improving in areas of intellectual property laws and research standards to meet international levels.