Skip to content

How Canada’s & Australia’s Clinical Trial Landscapes Compare on Key Attributes

For Sponsors of clinical trials today, strong operations, therapeutic expertise, and access to the right populations are integral to their choice of CROs. Which is why both Canada and Australia are regions of choice.

Industry Standard Research survey of 194 respondents from North America, EMEA, and APAC about Phase 1 provider selection and performance for the Phase 1 CRO Benchmarking (15th Ed.) Report 2022 reveals that the attributes most frequently chosen as most important in selecting a CRO partner include: Access to patient populations, Low cost, Operational excellence, and Therapeutic expertise.



Making the Comparison by Attribute

Given the above, it’s interesting to examine how the two countries compare. This is of particular interest as the Australian clinical trial landscape is reaching saturation, and sponsors of cutting-edge oncology clinical trials look to comparable regions for their global trial expansion plans.

Attribute #1: Access to Patient Populations

In Australia almost 80% of the population lives in the most accessible Eastern Mainland states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (18.5 million).




In Canada, 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the US border (36 million).




Across the entire U.S. system, the estimated participation rate to cancer treatment trials is 6.3% (2021).

Black or African Americans in the U.S. represent 13.4% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. No more than 5% of these populations participate in clinical trials of any kind, as reported by the FDA. Similarly, Hispanic or people of Latin descent represent only 1% of clinical trial participants in the U.S.

In Australia just 2-3% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials overall, and the rate is even lower among minority groups and women. This according to the Cancer Council (2017).

A large number of people of color in the U.S. have no — or reduced — access to healthcare. As a result, they lack the opportunity to learn about clinical trials and how they can benefit by participating. Clinical trials often take place at the most advanced U.S. research institutions, where doctor-patient conversations for people of color do not frequently take place. In addition, limited resources mean potential participants of color are unaware of how to find clinical trials, or approach advocacy groups for assistance. Not surprisingly, past CDC research shows that our health is in part determined by factors such as income, where we live, and education. No doubt our access to affordable health care is another important contributing factor.

Australia’s health system is a complex mix of service providers and other health professionals from a range of organizations – from Australian and state and territory governments and the non-government sector. Collectively, they work to meet the physical and mental health care needs of Australians.

The complex structure of Australia’s health system is reflected in its funding arrangements. The health system is funded by Australian and state and territory governments as well as non-government funders such as private health insurers and individuals.

How Does Canada Differ?

Canada’s recruitment success rate in clinical trials is reported to be 98%, with sites in Canada that have as much as 22% of their total patient population participating in clinical trials. Capturing 4% of global clinical trials, Canada is fourth in its number of clinical trials sites and is the G7 leader in clinical trial productivity (number of trials/population). The nation is globally recognized for the quality and expertise of its research clinicians, many of whom are globally recognized for major medical discoveries and innovations, and its ability to conduct clinical research in complex therapeutic areas with diverse population bases.

Canada boasts the highest percentage of foreign-born citizens among all G8 countries. A diverse population combined with a universal healthcare system for all Canadian citizens offers a compelling opportunity for cutting-edge U.S. biotechs striving to ensure global trials get the right mix of participants.

Clinical trial diversityUnlike Australia, where people of color make up only 9.3% of the population (including: Aboriginal Australians, Blacks, people from the Pacific Islands, Asia, and India) Canada’s demographics are more reflective of that of the U.S.  In 2016 immigrants in Canada represented 26% of the total Canadian population, the highest proportion among G8 countries. Projections to 2036 indicate people of color will make up about one third (31% to 36%) of the total Canadian population.

The advantage of universal health care in Canada means all citizens receive coverage for basic health care services, and no legal resident is denied care. Access for Canadian citizens is granted regardless of status, income, employment, health, or age. The administration of Canadian heath care is on a province by province basis, and the entire health care system is paid for by taxes.

Attributes #2 & #3: Cost & Operational Excellence

If you live in Canada rather than Australia, you would:

For the conduct of clinical research in each country, both Canada and Australia have credit programs at the federal level, with specific applicable requirements and benefits.

Both Canada and Australia have recognized international standards of Good Clinical Practice, including the standards of conduct developed by the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH).

As a result, data from clinical trials conducted in either country is generally viewed with confidence by International regulatory authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Efficient regulatory processes for the approval of clinical trials are also found in both countries.

Attribute #4: Choose the Right Therapeutic Expertise for the Region

Mobilizing an expert Canadian team significantly enhances study start-up and overall performance for Sponsor’s oncology clinical trials in the country. In keeping with the targets shared with its Sponsors, the Scimega team delivers consistent clinical trial start-up times 50% faster than the North American average, with trial sites often among top enrollers in global oncology studies.

More than ever Drug Developers want access to sites that can deliver on their promises of rapid FPI (first patient in study) and patient enrollment milestones. They need a CRO with established site relationships in Canada that can provide swift, accurate study feasibility and viability assessments.

Scimega is a Canadian niche oncology CRO that serves small to medium size biotech companies in clinical development of cutting-edge oncology therapies in Canada. We consistently deliver our services with a strategic focus on Sponsor program success, and our team’s ability to engage oncologists and site teams at the highest level is unparalleled. Even under the current pandemic circumstances.

Processes that ensure high-quality, and operation oversight of CRA activities and internal QA activities is the gold standard with Scimega. And of course, steady and high enrollments rates thanks to the selection of the right sites for your study design.

With inspection ready processes and key metrics performance that clearly reflects the caliber of combined skill and service the Scimega team of oncology experts consistently delivers, this CRO works hard at working smarter every year for over two decades.

  Contributed byJulie Martin, CEO & co-Owner


Back To Top