Despite maintaining regional offices within Africa, major international drug manufacturers mostly overlook the continent when sponsoring clinical studies/trials. The main reasons are lack of clinical settings that are acceptable to American, European and Asian drug regulatory authorities; however, these have been built throughout Asia and Europe in resource-poor areas. We will be asking why so few drugs are tested in formal clinical trials throughout Africa, and whether language barriers, political upheaval, perceived inadequate training of health professionals, inadequate regulatory framework, lack of research capacity and lack of financial accountability are the causes. We will be discussing the Pfizer clinical trials in Nigeria and its impact on clinical research.
Africa offers tremendous expertise, and certainly South Africa which has at least one indigenous international drug manufacturer and active clinical trials in the country. Other countries have large populations and many opportunities for pharmaceutical companies looking for cost-effective study sites and appropriate patient drug market populations. Africa has a large rural population with little access to quality healthcare and clinical studies/research provide opportunities for access to potential life saving new investigational drugs for various communicable diseases such HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Typhoid and other infectious diseases.
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