Advantages and Challenges of Conducting Clinical Research in South Africa

Get To Know The South African Healthcare System

The South African healthcare system consists of public healthcare, which is financed and managed by the South African government, and private healthcare, which is primarily funded by health insurance and private direct fee for service payments. Private healthcare consumes more than 50% of total healthcare spending in South Africa, but only services about 20% of the population able to afford health insurance or direct funding of their healthcare needs.

South Africa Flag RoundThe Attraction of South Africa as Clinical Research Destination

South Africa is classified internationally as a developing country and is often viewed by the less-informed as a poorly developed African country. This is far from the truth.? South Africa has a long history of conducting clinical research; this translates to interest of the medical profession in furthering their knowledge and remaining at the cutting edge of medical development. This is a good indication of the pool of experienced clinical research staff available for research, which is growing and developing as the research environment changes over the years. Clinical research experience is of paramount importance in the South African research environment: it is a regulatory requirement that investigators may only participate as principal investigator after having participated in at least two different clinical trials as a sub-investigator.

A Sophisticated Infrastructure and Clinical Trial Support System

South Africa has a sophisticated infrastructure and clinical trial support system available. Laboratory support to process and analyze blood and tissue samples is readily available in all the large metropolitan cities in South Africa. Most, if not all, of the major laboratories have a clinical trial division that specifically caters for the clinical trial environment, and usually have some partnership/working relationship with the large multinational analytical laboratories. All FREEPIK Medical Imagesthe clinical laboratories are audited and accredited by SANAS. These facilities meet all of the international standard requirements.

Product Depots with Strict Control Mechanisms in Place

As South Africa is located quite a distance from the major manufacturing facilities in the USA, Europe and Asia, investigational product depots are often used to import and distribute clinical trial products to site. These facilities adhere to all international packaging and manufacturing (GMP) and clinical trial requirements (GCP). As they generally receive, store, and distribute clinical trial investigational product for a number of different studies and companies, they have very strict control mechanisms in place to ensure confidentiality and safety of clinical trial product. They are able to manage all types of investigational product at all temperature ranges.

Interested in more in-depth information on this topic? Download our complete article from the May 2014 Journal for Clinical Studies:

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