Like other emerging economies, India's quest for independent, evidence-based, and affordable healthcare has led to robust and promising growth in the clinical research sector, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% between 2005 and 2010. However, while the fundamental drivers and strengths are still strong, the past few years witnessed a declining trend (CAGR -16.7%) amid regulatory concerns, activist protests, and sponsor departure. And although India accounts for 17.5% of the world's population, it currently conducts only 1% of clinical trials. Indian and international experts and public stakeholders gathered for a 2-day conference in June 2013 in New Delhi to discuss the challenges facing clinical research in India and to explore solutions. The main themes discussed were ethical standards, regulatory oversight, and partnerships with public stakeholders. The meeting was a collaboration of AAHRPP (Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs)-aimed at establishing responsible and ethical clinical research standards-and PARTAKE (Public Awareness of Research for Therapeutic Advancements through Knowledge and Empowerment)-aimed at informing and engaging the public in clinical research. The present article covers recent clinical research developments in India as well as associated expectations, challenges, and suggestions for future directions. AAHRPP and PARTAKE provide etiologically based solutions to protect, inform, and engage the public and medical research sponsors.
Keywords: Clinical research; Ethics standards; India; Public awareness.