Clinical Research In Latin America: 10 Challenges And Opportunities

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 28, 2022: Clinical research has been focused on developed countries until recently. Regions like the United States and Europe have sophisticated clinical tools and laboratories to conduct effective clinical research.

However, sophistication isn’t exactly a luxury for most developing Latin American countries. Regardless, some countries are leveraging scientific networks and tools, such as software for CTMS (Clinical Trial Management Systems) to partake in the global clinical research process.

But this growth still requires that Latin America confronts its challenges if it needs to implement more profound clinical research. Read on to explore the opportunities and challenges inherent in Latin America.

What Is Clinical Research And Why Is It Important?

Clinical research refers to studies or trials conducted on people in producing drugs and other healthcare products. It’s a critical scientific process that determines the safety of medications and treatment regimens.

Clinical research is critical to medical development for diverse reasons such as the following:

  • Ensures safety of treatments: Through clinical research, the safety of the medicines prescribed to patients can be tested. It can also help understand how the treatment works when administered to patients.
  • Aids development of products: Clinical research aids medical professionals in developing products that can adequately combat diseases by providing the proper evaluation that will check the effectiveness and safety of the drugs. 
  • Promotes cross-discipline collaboration: Clinical research allows medical professionals to collaborate efficiently with workers in different disciplines to conduct high-quality clinical trials successfully. 
  • Improves and advances medical practices: Clinical research offers immense value by pioneering significant advancements in scientific and medical techniques that impact the lives of millions of people positively. 

Opportunities Of Clinical Research In Latin America

In recent times, Latin American governments, alongside pharmaceutical companies, are taking giant strides in developing a more robust pharmaceutical industry in the region and establishing standardized regulatory frameworks. Latin America remains an excellent ally for clinicians during clinical research as it offers several opportunities such as the following:

  1. Availability of Quality Research 

Latin America offers well-conditioned and highly influential research platforms that are well-approved by the necessary authorities, as well as a high standard of medical training. The region also has an increased number of qualified healthcare professionals.  Hence, if you seek a place with proven quality for research, you should consider Latin America as they offer great opportunities in that area. 

  • High Level Of Trust

When it comes to enrolling patients for clinical trials, trust is a critical issue. Without trust, it can be challenging to have patients give themselves to clinical trials willingly. However, in Latin America, it’s easier to get patients to volunteer for clinical research. This is due to the solid patient-physician bond that has evolved which has helped build trust. Most Latin American physicians are respected and trusted by their patients. 

  • Population Diversity 

Latin America has the most diverse population in the world. Different people from around the globe often visit the region to enjoy the riches it offers. Due to this, the region is always characterized by a diverse population. This diversity can help clinicians diversify their trial data and get richer feedback. 

  • High Population Density 

Many people live in Latin America, giving the region a dense population. This quality is beneficial to clinical research as it offers clinicians easy access to patients. With more patients to work with, researchers can gain richer insights into their findings.

  • Available Market

Latins America pharmaceutical sales are surging globally. This makes the region a substantial market for the sales of healthcare products. The favorable nature of the market can also make it possible for companies to achieve multiple folds of increased returns on their financial investments within a year.

Challenges Of Clinical Research In Latin America

Despite the great advances in Latin America, which offer immense opportunities for clinicians and pharmaceutical companies, certain gaps still exist in the regions. These gaps are multifactorial yet substantial and should be duly considered to develop measures that address them appropriately. Some of the common challenges of clinical research in Latin America include the following:

  1. Cultural Differences

Latin America comprises different countries and this signifies diverse cultures. Diversity becomes a challenge in marketing as marketers will have to learn and adapt to the different cultures to achieve successful sales. Hence, Latin American healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical companies are unable to navigate the cultural difference may find it challenging to market their projects effectively. 

  • High Cost 

The cost of conducting clinical research in Latin America is usually high. These research costs are affected by factors such as the region’s regulatory conditions, the health system’s unwillingness to include a product in its formulary, and the research’s expected profitability of healthcare products. 

  • Regulatory Timelines

Timelines are allotted to the analysis, approval, and activation of clinical research procedures and outcomes. They continue until the medical products are authorized for release to the public. Moreover, different countries in Latin America have different regulatory timelines.

Researching a country with delayed timelines to approve the processes and outcomes of clinical studies impairs the ability of trial patients and participating regions to enroll in the research. Some Latin American countries take longer to give regulatory approvals. Such long activation timelines limit the definitive conclusions of clinical research.

  • Tension Among Non-Participating Staff

Healthcare facility staff who are not fully involved in clinical research often feel tension due to their misunderstanding of the economic issues concerning clinical trials. These may hamper their necessary involvement in the process and thereby delay or impair outcomes.

  • High Level Of Unrest

Some Latin American countries consistently experience social and political unrest due to violence. Areas prone to violence become unattractive and are misunderstood by clinicians intending to research Latin America which leads to a change of decisions. 

Those who choose to proceed with the investigation become extremely cautious of their environment and can have their research work interrupted by acts of violence. These interruptions can affect the time frame, trial patient enrollment, and outcomes of the clinical research.  

Clinical research is an integral part of drug production and medical development. Healthcare products have to be evaluated by regulatory authorities before they are released to the general population. In recent times, Latin America has opened its doors to more clinical research than ever. The region offers several opportunities and challenges, such as those contained in this article.