Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 30, 2013

Medical Research Outsourcing Industry to Grow at Brisk Pace

Medical and pharmaceutical research is (as one would expect) expensive. In order to overcome limitations put in place by high costs, many European pharmaceutical and biotech companies are outsourcing their research, according to a new study. As a result, this contract research market is experiencing brisk growth.

Frost & Sullivan’s new report, “Analysis of the European Contract Research Outsourcing Markets,” found that the markets earned revenue of approximately $6.07 billion in 2011 and has estimated that this figure will reach $11.54 billion in 2018. Phase III clinical trials account for the largest share of the total CRO market in Europe.

Contract research organizations (CROs, for short) can help support greater innovation and improvements in chemical and biological drug development, according to Frost & Sullivan, as well as offset high development costs for new pharmaceuticals. They address the need for enhanced therapeutics in cardiovascular, oncology, autoimmune, central nervous system (CNS), infectious, endocrine and metabolic disease areas.

"Besides functionality, drugs are also tested for their efficacy and safety to ensure they meet the needs of patients across different ethnic groups and climatic zones," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Deepika Pramod Chopda in a statement. "The globalized nature of CROs enables them to facilitate the process of drug development for their clients."

Chopda noted that the availability of specialized research technologies, coupled with an exclusive focus on drug development and testing, can help boost the chances of success for CROs and offset the high costs of in-house research and development services.

The practice of outsourcing drug trials to foreign nations has attracted some criticism in recent years. A 2009 article by Duke University researchers, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that an “ethical quagmire” could result when drugs intended for wealthy nations are tested on people in developing countries, the New York Times reported. The authors suggested that human volunteers in foreign countries may be unduly attracted to volunteer for trials because of urgent needs for money or basic healthcare.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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