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Rapid Globalization of Medical Device Clinical Development Programs in Japan - The Case of Drug-Eluting Stents.

Circ J; 2017 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28883226
Delays in the introduction to the Japanese market of drug-eluting stents (DES) developed overseas (i.e., "device lag") decreased sharply between 2004 and 2012. The reduction accompanied a shift in clinical development from a succession pattern (initial product development and approval overseas followed by eventual entrance into the Japanese market) to parallel development (employing multiregional clinical trials (MRCTs)). Although resource-intensive in the short-term, MRCTs are proving to be an effective tool in simultaneous global product development. Creative study designs and the absence of significant ethnic differences in Japanese subjects regarding DES safety and efficacy and the pharmacokinetic behavior of their coating drugs propel this process. More general factors such as medical need and industry incentivization also encourage this shift. Physicians' preference for DES over other percutaneous coronary interventions, the expanding global DES market, and streamlined development and approval prospects each motivate industry to continue investing in DES product development. The efforts of various stakeholders were also integral to overcoming practical obstacles, and contributions by 'Harmonization by Doing' and a premarket collaboration initiative between the USA and Japan were particularly effective. Today, USA/Japan regulatory cooperation is routine, and Japan is now integrated into global medical device development. MRCTs including Japanese subjects, sites, and investigators are now commonplace.