Even though conducting more clinical trials in developing countries would be beneficial due to under-representation of these populations in research, performing trials in countries with poor resources poses many challenges for scientists.

This week’sPLoS Medicine features an essay by Trudie Land and Sisira Siribaddana, which concludes that whilst developing countries benefit in terms of higher investment and capacity development through working with externally funded trials, locally led research also has to tackle the hurdles that arise through administrative burdens and complex trial regulations.

The authors highlight the need for more trials to compare different approaches to health and disease, as low-income settings can achieve substantial improvements in health outcomes by implementing simple, evidence-supported interventions.

They also argue that costs can be decreased if clinical trial operations are more risk-specific and if the complexity of the trial is not dictated by general requirements of sponsors and their contracted associates, as these factors discourage researchers from conducting trials in low-income settings.

In a concluding statement, the authors write:

“The globalization of clinical trials should not be about running inexpensive trial sites to benefit distant people, but should focus on bringing research to populations who have previously been under-represented in clinical trials, and enabling these same communities the benefits resulting from new drugs, vaccines, and improvements in managing health.”

Written By Petra Rattue