How does Canada rank as a country for conducting Clinical Trials?
DOES CANADA RANK FAVOURABLY AS A GOOD CHOICE TO CONDUCT CLINICAL TRIALS?
We know we can’t compete in terms of population, but Canada does have numerous strengths, making it a very attractive host for early phase clinical trials. These strengths include highly trained clinicians, the presence of key opinions leaders, world-class investigators, renowned medical care standards and a well-diversified population, all of which are desirable for testing new drugs. In addition, Canada is one of the top countries for biomedical research productivity and international reputation.
Recognized worldwide for its research excellence and the quality of its research clinicians, Canada has proven to be a world-class location for pharmaceutical and medical device companies to conduct their clinical trials. In fact, the majority of the world’s top pharma companies choose Canada as one of their top clinical trial locations.
We recommend that drug developers come to Canada early in their drug development process, for many reasons.
First of all, we have expert physicians in various therapeutic fields, key opinion leaders with internationally renowned reputations, that are clearly interested in participating in Canadian clinical trials. In addition, we have efficient regulatory experts, CROs and clinical trial start-up facilitators helping with the Canadian process efficiency.
Adding Canadian sites to a multi-centre trial is a great initiative to expose expert physicians as well as patients to novel therapies that will eventually come to market, raising interest, awareness and knowledge. The fact that the Canadian population is very similar to that of the US, makes Canada an interesting extension of the U.S. initiative for patient recruitment. This way, our Canadian population can benefit from these novel therapies, while adding to the global clinical trial recruitment initiative.
In addition, the Canadian regulatory agency provides a decision within an efficient standard review of 30 days. Also, early Canadian initiative can build the health authorities’ confidence with a sponsor and product by raising awareness, interest and knowledge. This can translate into facilitating the accelerated access to the Canadian market, should the product meet the requirements.
Should the drug be innovative and / or life-saving, we would recommend a strategic registration regulatory strategy, because of the possibility of having a faster approval granted either during the clinical trial phases or immediately upon completion. A meeting with Health Canada would be recommended to validate the strategy, secure agreements that would be part of meeting minutes, included in the upcoming registration initiative.
According to the Government of Canada, the country captures 4% of global clinical trials, is also fourth in number of clinical trial sites and has a world-class contract research sector with extensive capabilities in phase I-IV clinical trials.
Canada is regarded as a leader in scientific research due to a number of factors including the diversity of its population, its educated labour force, world leading universities, hospitals and research centers as well as its robust health care system. In addition, Canadian universities consistently rank among the top in the world. Educational rankings worldwide continue to place the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia and McMaster University in the top 50 Universities in the world for medical research.
Designing and managing global clinical trials has large expense considerations. Independent studies continue to show Canada as having significant cost advantages as a location for clinical trials. KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives study, for instance, compares business costs and other competitiveness factors in more than 100 cities in ten major countries, puts Canada as 2nd as the country with the lowest business costs. The US is 10th. On a per city basis, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. Most of the cities in the US were ranked in the 20s.
Whether it is patient diversity, the industry’s reputation, its infrastructure, it’s quality researchers, it’s cost competitiveness or Health Canada’s 30 day target to review Clinical Trial Applications, these advantages lead pharmaceutical companies and research institutions to continue making significant investments in Canadian clinical research.
For questions about the Canadian Drug Review & Regulatory approval process that is not covered in this section, please go ahead and contact us directly.