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International Clinical Trials

Eastern Promises

More and more clinical trials are being held in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), drawn by the benefits of fast recruitment with no loss in data quality, access to special populations, and better patient compliance. This increase in clinical trials raises the question: will this rush and the higher costs associated with the economic growth in these countries actually deplete these advantages? In this article, we address this question and present three countries that remain attractive locations for performing clinical trials, namely the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.

GEOGRAPHY

Central and Eastern Europe classically consists of 19 countries, including 10 European Union (EU) members. There are 310 million people, including 142 million in Russia, 46 million in Ukraine, 38 million in Poland, 21 million in Romania, and 10 million in Belarus, the Czech Republic and Hungary. CEE countries remain diverse in terms of language and regulatory environment.

Among these countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania are the most intensively tapped for clinical trials with more than five trials per million inhabitants, while Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine host only three trials per million inhabitants. In comparison, Belgium and the US for example host 55 and 39 trials per million inhabitants, respectively.

WELCOME TO PARADISE

Since 2000, the number of clinical trials held in CEE increased by 12 per cent per year, compared with eight per cent worldwide (1). Performing clinical trials in CEE does indeed have numerous benefits over other parts of the world, including accelerating recruitment, finding special patient populations, and gaining access to a possible future market for new drugs.


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Karel Cerny, MD, majored in paediatric internal medicine and allergology and immunology in Prague and practiced medical teaching. He has more than 10 years’ experience in pharmaceutical industries and CROs. As a Senior CRA, he is currently involved in developing R&D activities in the Czech Republic for SGS Life Science Services.

Xavier Ducarme, PhD, graduated from the Bioengineering Faculty of the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. After one year as a Teaching Assistant and four years as a Research Fellow of the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, he has now five years of experience as a Medical Writer in the Pharmacokinetic division of SGS Life Science Services.

Monika Kowalik, MD, graduated from the Silesian Academy of Medicine in Katowice with a specialisation in general medicine, followed by four years as an Assistant in General Medicine and two years as a Medical Department Associate at Boehringer Ingelheim. She is currently involved as a Senior CRA in developing R&D activities in Poland for SGS Life Science Services.

Dan Militaru, MD, graduated from the Medical Institute of Bucharest – Spitalul Clinic de Psihiatrie – with the title of MD Specialist in Psychiatry. He entered clinical research in 1999 as a CRA with Quintiles Romania. He is currently a Senior CRA and Medical Advisor involved in developing R&D activities in Romania for SGS Life Science Services.

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Karel Cerny
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Xavier Ducarme
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Monika Kowalik
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Dan Militaru
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