An Exploratory Study of Indian Medical Device Clinical Trials : Landscaping and Assessment of Challenges
The present day world has been experiencing rapid technological advancement on the one hand and increasing number of diseases afflicting the human beings on the other. To deal with the later, medical devices are innovated and introduced in to the market (making use of the technological advancements), on a continuous basis across the world. However, taking an innovated medical device to the market poses innumerable challenges and therefore, these have to be clinically trialled before its launch to ensure safety and efficacy. Of late, India has emerged as one of the preferred destinations to carry out clinical studies due to numerous advantages, primarily its diverse human gene pool and cost-competitiveness. However, there is very little understanding on the landscape of medical devices clinically trialled in India. It is to throw light on this critical issue with respect to the selection of participants in the clinical trial process, selection of locations and determination of trial duration that the present study has been carried out. In addition, the role of patents associated with the introduction of new medical devices in relation to the key challenges is examined. Furthermore, we studied the characteristics of clinical trials by industry and non-industry sponsors and between cardiovascular and other disease related trials. The present study has been carried out based on secondary data covering 108 medical device clinical trial registrations accessed from Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) database pertaining to the period 2008-2014. At the outset, the pattern of trials related to the most prominent diseases such as cardiology and cardiovascular diseases and those which are invasive and non-invasive are examined. Our findings indicate that almost 50% of the trials are related to diseases of cardiology, cardiovascular diseases and those which are invasive in nature. For studying the patenting aspect, we proposed a conceptual grouping of sponsors as Incumbent, Potential Entrant and Supporter, based on their patent holdings in the domestic market and in PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) filings. Patents owned by Primary Sponsor (PS) showed significant variations in their clinical trial characteristics particularly the invasiveness of device, disease type, locations and participants. Three quantitative models are developed to identify the factors that influence the selection of number of participants, locations and time taken to execute medical device clinical trials using multivariate statistical techniques. The results of the three conceptual models on number of participants, locations and trial duration showed invasiveness of device and disease type playing significant roles in all the three models. The number of PCTs owned by PS was found to be influential in selecting the number of locations and participants but not the patents owned in IPO (Indian Patent Office). We also observed significant differences between industry and non-industry sponsors in terms of their clinical trial characteristics. The findings of the study formed the basis to understand the medical device clinical trial landscape and other pertinent issues in the Indian context, which enabled us to derive appropriate inferences and policy implications.
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