International journal for equity in health 2018 03 2217(1) 37 doi 10.1186/s12939-018-0748-6
Clinical trials for identification of efficient and effective new diagnostic and treatment modalities are needed to address disproportionately high burden of communicable (e.g., HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria) and non-communicable diseases (e.g., diabetes) in developing countries. However, gross under-representation in global clinical trial platforms contributes to sustained health inequity in these countries. We reviewed the literature on barriers facing clinical researchers in developing countries for conducting clinical trials in their countries.
Literature indexed in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and Web of Science, WHO Global Health Library were searched. Grey literature was also searched. Search key words included barriers, challenges, clinical trials and developing countries. Articles within the scope of this review were appraised by two reviewers.
Ten studies, which are reported in 15 papers, were included in this review. Following critical review we identified five unifying themes for barriers. Barriers for conducting clinical trials included lack of financial and human capacity, ethical and regulatory system obstacles, lack of research environment, operational barriers and competing demands.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
There were substantial barriers at system, organization and individual level. We propose that to address this problem, instituting a system for wider implementation of local investigator-initiated trials is warranted. These trials are more applicable to local populations because they build on local healthcare knowledge. They are more demand-led, influence policy and responsive to a country’s needs because they are driven by a local or national agenda.