In Search of the Better Guinea Pig

Offshoring Human Drug Trials

By TERRY J. ALLEN

“Latin America is a rich resource for pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations (CRO) to develop new drugs at a reduced cost.”

The $175 Drug Information Association (DIA) event touted advantages of outsourcing drug trials to the developing world and of hiring CROs to manage those trials by navigating local regulations, recruiting subjects and reporting test results in a way that will facilitate FDA acceptance. In addition to lower price tags, said Marlene Llopíz of Mexico-based CRO Venn Life Sciences, Latin American trials offer drug companies populations that: “see trials as a viable healthcare option to gain free medication” and have a rising incidence of chronic “life style” diseases, which are highly profitable to treat. Brazil and Mexico together have a pool of 13 million diabetics.