The ABPI (Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, the UK trade association for producers of prescription medicines) launched its third annual Clinic Research report last week, titled “Clinical research in the UK: an opportunity for growth”.
The report states that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the value and importance of clinical trials. The ABPI’s report reveals that 68 commercial COVID-19 trials were initiated in the UK in 2020. This amounted to the highest number of COVID-19 commercial trials in Europe with only the United States and Brazil initiating more COVID-19 commercial trials globally.
However, the focus on COVID-19 has had a negative effect on research into other conditions such as cancer and cardio-metabolic disease. In addition, despite playing a leading role in COVID-19 research, the report shows that the UK fell down the global rankings in all phases of clinical trials in 2020. Commercial clinical research brings significant economic benefits to the UK, generating £335 million for the NHS in England in the year 2018/2019. The report says that enhancing the UK’s commercial clinical research set-up would attract more investment in the healthcare industry in the UK, thereby improving the health of the nation as a whole.
The report outlines key recommendations for revitalising the UK’s clinical research environment and making it the destination of choice for clinical research. Such recommendations include:
- Embedding research in healthcare, including through the introduction of a strengthened research mandate within the Health and Care Bill 2021/22;
- Reforming and streamlining approvals and set up of clinical trials by effectively resourcing key regulatory agencies such as the MHRA and HRA, and using the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 to mandate rapid timelines for regulatory approvals and to reform clinical trial regulation;
- Increasing and diversifying patient recruitment to clinical trials, including through community-based projects to support local healthcare systems and build relationships with underserved communities;
- Adopting innovative trial design and delivery approaches and ensuring that digital tools are made available to support remote monitoring and virtual trial delivery; and
- Improving how the UK reports on clinical research performance by working with system partners on the development of a UK-wide clinical research dashboard.
Click here to view the press release, full report and interactive graphs on the ABPI website.