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International Clinical Trials

Expert Knowledge

After the US and Europe, Japan is the most important
market for biopharmaceutical R&D companies. The
Japanese pharmaceutical industry is worth $81 billion
and the major global companies have well-established
marketing and R&D operations in the region. Demands
for effective pharma products in Japan are growing,
but the current government emphasis on reducing
rising healthcare expenditure in the face of a rapidly
ageing population has made the business environment
challenging for the industry.

Japan has a mature, developed pharma market that is very
sensitive with respect to research quality, as the medical
community is exclusive, hierarchical and conservative.
Only 34% of clinical research is conducted by non-Japanese
businesses. During the late 1990s, several global CROs
expanded their operations, setting up offices in Japan to
coordinate global multicentre clinical trials as a part of their
drug development support to multinational companies.
In doing so, they have adapted to the different clinical
research environment in Japan, which is more resource-
focused and, therefore, more expensive when compared to
clinical trials in other regions.

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Mary Pan is Vice President of General Management and Business Development at ICON, Asia Pacific, where she is responsible for growing and enhancing ICON’s presence in the region. She has over 17 years of global pharma and clinical development expertise, with a strong track record in Asia through roles at Becton Dickinson, ClinTec International, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Mary holds bachelor degrees in economics and psychology and a Master of Business Administration from Brown University, US, and also has a law degree from the University of Edinburgh, UK.
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