Clinical Trials in South America will continue to grow

31 Aug, 2010 by  David Murphy

Latin America is going through a new era of growth and the global air cargo carriers are first hand witnesses of the regional economic expansion. Even despite the recent recession, the transportation industry has been noticing an increase in airfreight volumes of various commodities such as fruits, manufactured goods and pharmaceuticals transported to the continent. As IATA reported, airfreight-related growth in Latin America for the first half of 2010 was 60.2%, while the worldwide growth showed only half that amount.

It is no secret that the Latin American market has been a target of the pharmaceutical companies for quite a while now. The region has been very popular among sponsors due to various reasons: naive populations concentrated in the cities that allow for a faster patient enrollment, higher number of patients per site, easier follow-up and lower travel expenses. The standard of medical training in the region is high. PI's (Principal Investigators) are knowledgeable of GCP (Good Clinical Practices) and other industry guidelines. Moreover the PI's are eager to participate in these trials.

Due to these positive factors, clinical trials in Latin America have been experiencing the highest growth among all emerging markets, (see graph below) and this trend is continuing. The number of trials during last decade in Brazil has increased from over 1000 to 1889 (in 2009) and in Argentina from over 200 to 1034.

% Increase in 1572's filed per year (1995-2000)


Latin America currently constitutes over 10% of QuickSTAT's serviced destinations of clinical trials and clinical trial supply shipments. And, that number has been rapidly growing. In fact, all emerging markets constitute some 75% of all of our shipping destinations.

We were able to easily accommodate the shift in the industry to the emerging markets thanks to QuickOnlineRx, our online Clinical Trial shipment management tool. As global clinical trials started to gain speed, QuickOnlineRX helped to provide communication, control and consistency across investigator sites and CROs worldwide participating in the trials.

When it comes to the recent airfreight growth in Latin America, I should add that the specialty couriers did notice the impact of the recession on the pharma industry. As the Applied Clinical Trials article "Is Clinical Research Recession Proof?" (August 2010) points out, clinical research is affected by recession. But it is not always easy to assess the short term trends from the position of a logistics vendor. Some shipments stop simply due to the fact that the clinical trial ends, so occasional fluctuations in the shipment volume may not be indicative of any trends in the industry.

Overall, based on our analysis and the overall industry trends, I have no doubts that the Clinical Trial expansion in Latin America will continue.

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About David Murphy
Executive Vice President Life Science Solutions

David Murphy is a 30 year veteran of The Quick Group of Companies, holding various leadership roles in Quick's Life Science division. Over the past 8 years, David has served as Executive Vice President of Quick's Life Science... Read more.

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