Why have clinical trials in New Zealand?
New Zealand has a proud track history of successfully performing and being involved in many clinical trials. It has a first world medical system that is ranked as one of the most efficient.
1. The Researchers
Clinical researchers in New Zealand are well trained, often with extensive overseas experience and links. There is a collegiality between the various research centres and hospitals enabling the rapid sharing of ideas and the dissemination of information. The researchers are usually extremely accessible, motivated and efficient.
2. The Health System
New Zealanders enjoy access to a high standard of healthcare as would be expected from a developed country. New Zealand spends on total healthcare an amount approximately equal to the OECD average and New Zealanders have a longer life expectancy than the USA. New Zealand has a well-trained medical and allied health workforce with good access to modern radiological and diagnostic techniques including Pet/CT and state of the art MRI machines.
3. The Ethics review system
The Ethics bodies that review clinical trials are independent of and have no ties to the research institutions or the hospital centres. They consist of a mixture of medical professionals and general public. They have a transparent and open reporting structure and are generally considered efficient, reliable and effective. New Zealand is one of a few countries that has an on line system whereby trial proposals are submitted and reviewed by the Health and Disabilities Ethics Committee (HDEC) and the Standing Committee on Therapeutic Trials (SCOTT).
4. Cost effectiveness
Compared to many of its trading partners New Zealand has a small economy with relatively high interest rates, low inflation and a moderate standard of living. This translates into lower wages, institutional overheads and less expensive medical procedures. Indeed while most of the surgical implants and medications are imported from the US, it is usually much cheaper to purchase the same device or drug here in New Zealand than in the USA. There tends to be fewer layers between the investigator and the sponsor meaning less frictional cost.
5. Reduced competing trials and higher recruitment
New Zealand's pharmaceutical purchasing policies have been a significant disincentive for pharmaceutical companies to have offices in this country with many companies run out of Australia. This tends to mean fewer pharmaceutical companies have clinical trial departments in New Zealand, resulting in fewer competing trials and more ability to recruit patients even though the population is modest. Many efficient Clinical Research organisations (CROs) have as a result sprung up who are able to provide data management and site monitoring.