Why New Zealand?
Clinical Research In New Zealand
Known for its clean-green image New Zealands
population of four million is comprised of citizens from European, Asian and Polynesian descent with most living within close proximity of one of eight metropolitan areas where the majority of clinical research is conducted. The population spread means that in several regions that are successful in conducting clinical research there is one primary hospital. As an example, Waikato and Canterbury provinces each have catchments of >400,000 patients who ostensibly receive hospital and/or specialist services through one institution. This allows screening programs and community outreach to be targeted more accurately.
Over the years, NZ research sites have consistently matched or outperformed the recruitment rate of many of their International peers without sacrificing quality. Well developed professional networks are in place to allow a sponsor exposure to a large patient base. There is a high level of awareness and acceptance of the benefits of participation in clinical research.
The regulatory environment is generally supportive of clinical trials with key staff from the governments regulatory agency (MEDSAFE) readily available for consultation should the need arise. Submission to MEDSAFE can run in parallel with submission to the Local (single site study) or Multi Region Ethics Committee, with MEDSAFE approval usually received prior to ethics approval. All ethics committees in NZ use the same application form. Ethics approval would typically be received within 60 days from the date of submission.
NZ is located in the Southern Hemisphere and as such has opposite seasons to the Northern Hemisphere countries. Inclusion of NZ sites in a number of research programs, for example Influenza studies allows a sponsor to benefit from two respiratory seasons within a single 12 month period, thereby having the potential to advance the research program.
New Zealand physicians have a close geographical and professional relationship with their peers from Australia. If you have study sites in Australia, then involvement of New Zealand sites will significantly increase the pool of potential subjects available to your project without unduly affecting project administration. As with Australia, New Zealand has traditionally been a cost-effective alternative to other Western countries, and this currently remains so.