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News Article

Attracting Clinical Trials to Mexico

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 13:07

Dr José Luis Viramontes, Director of Remote Site Management and Monitoring at PPD, gave a short presentation after which he invited Gabriela Dávila, Director de Compliance and Oversight in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Caribeean and Central America at Pfizer, to discuss competitive advantages. Dávila discussed clinical investigation, mainly in topics regarding quality and the improvement of processing speed. Regulatory authorities want Mexico to become a more competitive country in investigation, as well as clinical infrastructure. Karen Hahn, Director of Clinical Trial Management at ICON, agreed with Dávila but focused her presentation on the need for more qualified personnel. She discussed that clinical investigations were not even mentioned as an area of investigation within Mexico, but that now the number of courses, diplomas, and R&D centers for which students do not have to leave the country to take is impressive.

Rafael Bravo, Chief Scientific Officer at Novartis touched on the topic of Mexico’s geographical competitive advantages close to the US, and having relatively low costs of operations. “Mexico could be the first country for R&D,” he said. “Six months ago only 3 innovative drugs had been approved by the regulatory authorities, but as this grows Mexico will become more competitive.” Sergio Guerrero, President and CEO of Accelerium spoke on the role of the academia all over the world, and mentioned that foreign academic institutions have invited Mexico to participate in trials and investigations. To promote internationalization, last year COFEPRIS visited Europe and will subsequently visit Asia and Africa.

Dr. Viramontes complemented the advances in human capital, infrastructure, fast-tracking processes in Mexico, before asking why investigation is not advancing as we expected, in spite of the long list of competitive advantages. Sergio Guerrero suggested that this is because the country has not yet had the opportunity to show off its benefits. “We know that opportunities exist here, and now is the time to take advantage and begin to compete with the biggest countries in innovation and investigation.” Bravo candidly added that offering is increasing globally, whereas the number of clinical trials carried out in Mexico is dropping. “We are in 30th place globally, and it is extremely difficult to catch up from so far behind.” Hahn joined the discussion by recommending the creation of a Master course in innovations, “we must not always assume we have to tropicalize existing university courses, why not create our own, focused on the competencies we need to develop in Mexico?” 

Dr. Viramontes mentioned initiatives with ANIF and CANIFARMA among others, hope to take advantage of the enormous quantity of patients in Mexico who are willing to participate in trials, ending the discussion on one of the country’s most important competitive advantages. Guerrero warned that in order to improve project quality in research and innovation, 35 of which were authorized by COFEPRIS, R&D centers need continued investment.