According to The Australian Financial Review today, the human guinea pigs of Australia are in strong demand from pharmaceutical companies in China, Japan and Korea.
Demand from offshore for drug trials is rising fast from Asian companies, on top of the traditional core business from United States giants, which has prompted CMAX, a division of ASX-listed IDT Australia, to shift into a new hi-tech clinical trials facility in Adelaide's CBD. The clinic operates much like a mini-hospital, except without sick patients.
Individuals can earn up to $4000 for a two-week stay in the 50-bed facility, taking part in a range of clinical trials to test new drugs and vaccines as part of the long regulatory process before they can become available to the public.
An army of 14,000 people are on the CMAX database. They comprise shift workers, small business people, retirees and university students who are keen to earn some extra dollars and also advance the frontiers of medical science. It has also done clinical trials over the past few months with people of Chinese descent, and those from Japan, who are living in Adelaide, for specific projects requiring an answer on the impact on a specific ethnic group.
Jane Kelly, the vice-president of clinical services for CMAX, says demand has accelerated from China, Japan and Korea over the past 12 months. Offshore customers are attracted by the speed of the process and the robust reputation that CMAX has earned from regulators around the world.
Just as vitamins companies led by Blackmores and Swisse have experienced a huge jump in sales to China because of the "clean and green" reputation of Australia, health and pharmaceutical service providers are increasingly perceived as delivering high quality. Ms Kelly says extra work has come through to CMAX from companies wanting traditional Chinese medicines tested in a clinical setting.
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