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South African Medical Journal

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Pharmacoligaclly Active: Clinical Trials and the Pharmaceuticals Industry

M Kahn, M Gastrow

Abstract




Multinational pharmaceutical companies (‘pharmas') import
and produce pharmaceuticals and also conduct clinical trials
which are an important aspect of research and development
(R&D). This may raise the question: Is South Africa a guinea
pig for the pharmas? The Department of Trade and Industry
National Industrial Policy Framework1 designates chemicals,
plastic fabrication and pharmaceuticals as a key value
chain. So a second question could be: Can South Africa be a
manufacturer for the pharmas, or can it leverage strengths
in medical research and the conducting of clinical trials so
as to develop a discovery-led industry? This paper analyses
and quantifies the state of the clinical trials industry in South
Africa, and concludes that: (i) a sizeable clinical trials industry
exists, and that these trials are predominantly phase 3 and
global in scope; (ii) South Africa is not a specific or unique
guinea pig – a range of conditions is studied as part of global
trials; and (iii) while South Africa has excellent prospects for
increased clinical trials activity, R&D investment is too low to
make it a major pharmaceutical contender

South African Medical Journal Vol. 98 (2) 2008: pp. 114-116



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