Thailand is becoming an increasingly attractive location for pharma companies to conduct clinical trials, with multinationals such as Novo Nordisk and Boehringer Ingelheim conducting more and more of their global trials in the country.
We are very active in engaging Thai doctors and patients in benefiting from involvement in clinical trials. This, of course, brings resources, enhances expertise and allows patients to benefit from brand new innovation… The country has been and will continue to be part of the clinical research programmes for all Novo Nordisk’s new medicines.
Thailand is emerging as a leader for clinical trials thanks to its world-class infrastructure, universal healthcare system, and national policies that support the clinical research industry. A study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics found that approximately USD 320 million was spent on Thai clinical trials in 2015, with 75 percent of that total spent on Phase III research. The Deloitte analysis identified several major reasons why Thailand is an increasingly attractive location for clinical trials. One is the large treatment-naïve patient population found in the country, including many different disease profiles. Another is the country’s highly skilled research workforce, well-trained to conduct clinical research, with an increasing number of pharmacists coupled with a significant presence of research-based pharma companies and CROs.
Other strengths include cost-effectiveness in hosting trials, well-recognized medical schools, a high incidence of tropical diseases, and access to state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities. As Dr Armin Wiesler of Boehringer Ingelheim Thailand asserts, “Thailand is an international medical hub that offers state of the art medical care and the newest medical innovations. The hospital infrastructure and national initiatives suggest a strong potential for Thailand to be a leader in conducting clinical trials in the region.”
Much work is still needed to reach Thailand’s 2030 Agenda goal of better control of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. Controlling the onset of diabetes may help prevent the progression of cardiac and kidney diseases, thereby instigating a significant cost reduction for the healthcare system. Pushing this message is global diabetes leader, Novo Nordisk, which since 2009 has conducted 16 of the 25 diabetes trials in Thailand and enrolled more than 400 patients in its research. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PReMA) reports that diabetes is the most researched therapy area in Thailand and that Novo Nordisk accounts for the majority of the research in this area.
As John Dawber VP and GM of Novo Nordisk Thailand notes, “Novo Nordisk is lucky that both Thai doctors and university hospitals are very highly respected around the world, particularly on their knowledge of diabetes and their strong execution and quality of clinical trials. This means that through our clinical team and our clinical research associates in Thailand we are very active in engaging Thai doctors and patients in benefiting from involvement in clinical trials. This, of course, brings resources, enhances expertise and allows patients to benefit from brand-new innovation. The country has been and will continue to be part of the clinical research programmes for all of Novo Nordisk’s new medicines.”