Updated on 10 September 2012
The standards of intellectual property (IP) in Asia have improved and regulations have increased as IP issues are constantly being discussed and new trends explored such as at the '3rd Global Forum on Intellectual Property', recently held in Singapore. Unfortunately, one issue related to IP protection appears far from resolution, which is that of trade secrets. In many emerging Asian markets, local regulations on clinical trials and approval processes for new drugs are not always clear and well communicated. Information related to drug registration, including information on how to manufacture the drug, is not always made readily available to foreign pharmaceuticals.
At times, even the rising cost of doing clinical work in Asia would derail R&D efforts and make it difficult to keep trials on track.
Foreign-based pharmaceutical companies face a host of challenges and often, it is not enough to merely establish a local presence in Asian markets. To overcome these hurdles, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly adopting a partnership model. This strategy allows companies to develop relationships with the local communities, businesses, authorities, as well as the scientific and medical fraternity in a complementary way to maximize the strengths and capabilities.
The benefits of local partnerships
Local institutions such as hospitals are generally keen to explore partnerships with foreign-based pharmaceuticals as these represent opportunities for skills transfer, professional development and scientific exchange. Such partnerships also present the institution with opportunities to be involved in the development of medicines and healthcare solutions for Asian patients. For pharmaceutical companies, partnerships with local academia and clinicians are crucial to gain local insights into Asian patients needs so that drug development strategies can properly address these needs.