International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on Friday, 20th May 2016. The global trials industry is worth £30 billion a year and expected to grow further within the next decade.

Over recent years, clinical trials have been moving overseas to benefit from reduced costs, excellent data quality and centralised health facilities which lead to quicker patient recruitment. With the move of the clinical trials programme to countries such as India, Russia and China, new business opportunities arise for language service providers to accommodate the need to bridge the language barrier and offer clinical trials translation services.

As the migration continues, we decided to gather the pros and cons of outsourcing clinical trials.

The pros of outsourcing clinical trials. What are the benefits to taking your clinical trials overseas? 1. Fast patient recruitment. Rapid recruitment that is consistently higher than the global average. 2. Excellent data quality. Developed overseas nations have been part of clinical trials for many years now and have a better access to information than a lot of Western countries. 3. Lower costs. Companies looking to outsource trials abroad could save 50% of their costs. There are also much lower CEE costs for outsourced trials. 4. Centralised health facilities. Large patient population means centralised health facilities for easier access to participants. 5. Drug-naive population. Greater levels of participation and lower levels of negative media circulation. 6. Less mobile. Patients tend to be less mobile which facilitates an easier follow up for clinical trial organisers. 7. GCP Compliant. All countries in the clinical trial regions are now considered GCP compliant & investigators are motivated to conform to it. 8. Well-educated patients. Participants described as well-educated with a good understanding of the risks and benefits of trials. Created by Wolfestone.

For Alex Parr, Managing Director of Wolfestone, with the shift in clinical trials towards overseas markets, the number of translation requests has increased. Parr continues by saying “72% is the estimated amount of clinical trials that will be conducted overseas by 2020. For us as a language business that offers huge potentials, because a large amount of work will need to be translated, and it has to be flawless.”

Since 2007, China has topped the list of most attractive low-cost global locations to run clinical trials outside the US; closely followed by India and Russia with Brazil and Czech Republic completing the top five.

Parr warns that going overseas can end up costing more, because “if you make a mistake in your translation then the ramifications could be huge. You could damage your reputation as a company or face serious legal issues from mistranslations as we know legal work is so reliant on language. That is why it’s important to use a high-quality translation agency.”

The cons of outsourcing clinical trials. What are the negatives to taking your clinical trials overseas? 1. Language barriers. Language differences may sometimes lead to problems in protocol adherence. It is also important that patients are completely clear on all the information about the trial, so having correct translations of all clinical trial documents is of the greatest importance. 2. Time consuming. Monitoring frequency and set time can often be higher than in the west. 3. Complex customs regulations. It is important that you completely understand the complex customs regulations of developing countries. It can be helpful to have a translator on hand to help you with this. 4. Lack of transport. Poorly developed transport and communication systems. 5. Certain costs are higher. It is sometimes worth being sensible about where you choose to conduct your clinical trials to avoid higher costs, particularly when it comes to tax and set-up costs. Increased regulatory frameworks can also mean increased costs in the developing countries. 6. Limited equipment access. In some countries it can be harder to source or access specialised equipment necessary for certain medical trials. 7. Lack of screening. Lack of screening facilities can mean that patients in developing countries are recruited later on in their disease process, making treatments appear less effective than the treatment for patients at an earlier stage. 8. Longer processing times. Some countries can take twice as long as the UK to process a clinical trial application. It pays to be smart about where you choose to conduct your trial and do your research. Created by Wolfestone.

Wolfestone’s dedicated clinical trial account managers are always on hand as a responsive point of contact, and are happy to find the language solution that is right for you. Click below to get in contact today and receive a free consultation from our friendly, professional team.


by Ashley Norris

Sales & Marketing Executive at Wolfestone. Ashley Norris graduated from Aberystwyth University with a First Class Honours in Film & Television Studies. Before and during his degree, Ashley became a professional writer and experienced digital marketer across several social channels, design packages and video editing software. Ashley recently expanded his role to manage clients' accounts. Ashley is a big fan of writing, films, music, art and his bearded sausage dog, Hudson.