What makes a difference in Central & Eastern Europe?

Talking about CEE (Central & Eastern Europe) we are talking about a couple of quite different countries, some of them as large as Poland with about 38 million inhabitants, some of them with just a few million people, such as the Baltic states, Slovakia or some of the successors of the former Yugoslavia. Beside language and history, they differ especially in their progress from the former system towards Western Europe, e.g. in all economy- related issues, but also in the structure of their health care systems, access to medical care and treatment habits.

There are significant differences from Western Europe existing in risk factors across all therapeutic areas and in the application of preventive medicine. The extent of health-related information available to patients and the consciousness of a need of self-responsible health care range on a lower level but may lead to the known closer patient- doctor relation.

Advantages for clinical trials in Central & Eastern Europe are as follows:

Medical staff

Well educated physicians and nurses, high rate of specialisation in private offices

Still lower grants and wages compared to Western European countries, applies for all services including CRO’s

Investigators highly motivated by the opportunity of achieving a higher standard of living by earning grants (applies to badly paid state employees in hospitals as well as to doctors running their private surgeries)

Investigators interested in international co-operation and participation in prestigious research projects

Health care structure and facilities

Easy access to all medical standard equipment, good basic health care

High-tech equipment, e.g. CT and MRI in major hospitals only, the number of which is constantly increasing, though

A centralised health care system still existing (rate depending on country and indication) allowing fast recruitment rates. Certain hospital dep. may be responsible for a population of hundreds of thousands.


Closer patient- doctor relation leading to a higher compliance and a lower drop-out rate, especially advantageous in long-term trials

Depending on indication, pre-treatment schemes and rate of therapy-naïve patients may differ from Western Europe

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