Higher Education

Apollo, government tie-up for certificate course in clinical research

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A growing demand for clinical trial professionals has led to an increasing number of institutions offering academic programmes in the same. Delhi, at present, has over 15 hospitals, medical colleges and institutions conducting clinical trials.

According to the Planning Commission, India gets 139 clinical trials as against 98 for China. The market value of clinical trials outsourced to India was estimated at nearly US$ 300 million in 2006. Besides, according to a McKinsey report, by 2010 global pharma majors would spend around US$ 1-1.5 billion just for drug trials in India. The report further estimates that the profession will create a demand for nearly 5,00,000 professionals in India.

To meet this demand, Apollo Hospitals Research and Education Foundation (AHERF), Delhi, has initiated a joint venture with the government regulatory body and drug industry to launch a certificate course in clinical research. The course would highlight all aspects of drug development from discovery to human use to post marketing surveillance.

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According to Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, Chairman (management), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi: “India would be the hub for clinical trials of new drugs and many companies would be investing here. At present, we lack specialised people in this area and if we don't act now we would miss a valuable opportunity.”

The foundation will offer an 18-month course from Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, offering 20 seats in each city. It would launch the course in Delhi's Apollo Hospital from July this year, and from January 2009 in Hyderabad and Chennai. The first six months of the programme will revolve around full-time classroom teaching and will be followed by a 12-month internship at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

Initially, AHERF will offer a certificate programme and then look to upgrade the same to a diploma. “We are discussing our case with the University of Cincinnati, US. We aim to train at least 300 experts in clinical trials within the next five years,” said Chaudhury.

Meanwhile, Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (VIMHANS), Delhi, and RNIS College of Clinical Research and Allied Sciences recently entered into an understanding to provide practical training to students of clinical research programmes. VIMHANS Hospital has been conducting clinical trials approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US, since the last four years.

According to Dr Shamsher Dwivedee, senior consultant, VIMHANS: “The tie-up would offer students of clinical trials a global exposure. At present we have eight projects from which students can benefit.” Clinical research involves both classroom teaching and hands-on training. The students of RNIS would, now, receive hands-on training at VIMHANS.

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