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Greater investment in research needed to address India’s increasing disease burden

February 18, 2019

The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) has sought greater investment in research and innovation to address India’s increasing disease burden and the incremental costs associated with it.

The members of ISCR stressed on the need for stakeholders to work together to build and strengthen the clinical research ecosystem in the country and create an environment that encourages more research.

At the same time, there is a need for more education and awareness about clinical research and its benefits not just to participating patients, but also to society at large, ISCR president Chirag Trivedi said at its 12th annual conference being held in Delhi.

“The changing profile of diseases affecting the Indian population, the continuing high prevalence of endemic diseases and the emergence of lifestyle diseases all point to an urgent need for greater investment in research and innovation to address India’s increasing disease burden and the incremental costs associated with it,” he said.

Recent data indicates that the number of clinical trials being done in India as a percentage of global trials continues to fall, the ISCR said in a statement.

From 1.5 per cent a couple of years ago, the percentage of clinical trials in India is now 1.2 per cent which is inadequate for a country that has the second highest population and the highest disease burden in the world.

It is against this background that ISCR held its conference on the theme ‘Clinical Research — Advancing the Frontiers of Health’.

The conference, being attended by over 500 clinical research professionals, focused on various clinical trial reforms that will build the future research enterprise as well as on emerging research opportunities in India.

“Clinical research in India is governed by robust local and global regulations which makes India amongst the most stringent clinical research regulatory environments in the world. In such an environment we need to encourage, not deter, not-for-profit organisations, institutions and biopharma companies from doing more research in India,” said Sanjay Mittal, senior director of Clinical Cardiology and Head of Research, Medanta The Medicity.

The most impacted by the current environment are patients who will not have access to the latest and most effective treatment for various medical conditions. For investigators too, participating in clinical research exposes them to the latest trends and treatment protocols which, in turn, benefits their practice and patients, he said.

ISCR president Trivedi said it was imperative that more is done to highlight the robust regulatory environment in India to stakeholders across the world so as to encourage more investment in clinical research.

A conducive clinical research ecosystem will encourage more research and development and will give an impetus to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“We are as committed to the DCGI’s (Drug Controller General of India) commitment to making safe, efficacious, affordable and quality medicinal products for our people. If we can have a Make in India for other goods and services, why cannot we have a Make in India for clinical research too?” Trivedi said.

Source: PTI

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