The challenges and opportunities of clinical trials in developing countries

Conducting more clinical trials in developing countries is of benefit because these populations are underrepresented in research, but doing trials in resource poor settings has many challenges. Research sites in developing countries benefit from working with externally sponsored clinical trials including increased capacity development and investment, but locally led research is also challenged by complex trial regulations and administrative burdens. These are some of the conclusions of an Essay by Trudie Lang and Sisira Siribaddana published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

The authors argue that there is a need for more trials that compare different approaches to health and disease, because in low-income settings simple interventions can bring significant improvements to if there is evidence to support implementation. They also say that clinical trials operations should be specific to the risk and complexity of each trial and not governed by one-size-fits-all requirements of sponsors and their contracted organizations, which pushes up costs and puts investigators off undertaking trials in low-income settings.

The authors conclude: "the globalisation of clinical trials should not be about running inexpensive trial sites to benefit distant people, but should focus on bringing research to populations who have previously been under-represented in clinical trials, and enabling these same communities the benefits resulting from , vaccines, and improvements in managing health."

More information: Lang T, Siribaddana S (2012) Clinical Trials Have Gone Global: Is This a Good Thing? PLoS Med 9(6): e1001228. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001228

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Just how useful are animal studies to human health?

Dec 15, 2006

Animal studies are of limited usefulness to human health because they are of poor quality and their results often conflict with human trials, argue researchers in a study on bmj.com today.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments