Published in hte Indian Journal of Pharmacology. Edwards B. How should you safely outsource pharmacovigilance to an Indian contract research organization?. Indian J Pharmacol 2008;40:24-7
The articles focus on different types of CRO that operate in India and the concerns western companies should address before deciding to oursource the trial to Indian companies.
exerpts from the article
The heterogeneous concept of a Contract Research Organization (CRO) in India is that, a CRO might refer to independent locally owned CROs, an affiliate of a multinational CRO, one owned by a larger non-healthcare companies (such as an IT company wanting to move into pharmaceuticals), one owned by a healthcare or pharmaceutical company or a hybrid of a CRO and a site management organization. In addition, there are significant differences in costs and capabilities. Only a small number have experience in multinational Phase II and III studies sponsored by US or EU companies. Costs for CRO services can vary by as much as fivefold. For instance, the cost per monitoring visit can vary between $400 and $2500 per visit. Employee turnover can be as high as 60% (a healthy number in a Western CRO might be approximately 10-20%); 95% or more of investigators meet recruitment goals. However, although for US studies query rate are typically 10-20%, the rate rarely exceeds 5%. Thus, there is no cohesive business strategy to develop the Indian pharmaceutical sector with enormous amount of variations in existing CROs.
Sponsors should be aware that high rates of staff attrition and turnover study monitors may well impact a CROs’ safety capability. Previously training in pharmacovigilance and GCP is a major issue with very few training courses in India, resulting in not enough GCP and pharmacovigilance trained personnel. The consequence of these factors may lead to the more experienced sites becoming overloaded with projects and the better investigators conducting proportionately more trials. In addition, the more attractive sites for recruitment may indicate that medical investigators already have a high patient load for their normal clinical practice, squeezing time for research subjects. This point is critical because of the challenge of informed consent from illiterate patients as described in a BBC documentary. Thus, it is critical the CRO industry rises to the Quality challenge by building quality as an integral part of all processes. This indicates that recognizing the costs of quality control and quality assurance checks are essential, not just an overhead.
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