- UK launches more trials for COVID treatment than any other European country
- But tests to check for other disease conditions have fallen short.
- The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has said Britain should do more
British patients are at risk of missing state-of-the-art medicines after industry leaders have warned that the number of new clinical trials is falling.
The UK has started more trials for the treatment of COVID than any other European country, but trials for other diseases have fallen short.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry says the study here was harder than in other countries and has been slow to recover.
It stresses that ministers should do more to make the country an attractive place to test, so that patients can have faster access to the latest medicines.
Recommendations include fostering a research culture within the NHS, streamlining the trial approval process and increasing funding to regulators.
UK launches more tests for treatment of COVID than any other European country, but tests for other diseases have fallen (stock)
There were 68 commercial clinical trials for COVID launched in the UK in 2020 – the most in Europe and third only in the United States and Brazil.
However, the focus on COVID has had a negative impact on research into other diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
More than 40 percent of non-Covid research studies the NHS trusts were halted during the first wave of the pandemic, preventing patients from receiving potentially life-saving treatment.
UK global ranking for clinical trials
UK’s 2021 global rankings
Step 1 – 4
Step 2 – 5
Step 3 – 7
UK’s 2018 Global Rankings
Step 1 – 3
Step 2 – 2
Step 3 – 4
The UK started 655 commercial clinical trials in 2018, but this fell by 33 per cent last year to 440, excluding COVID.
This means the country has slipped down the global league table for Phases 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials, shows the new ABPI report.
Richard Torbett, chief executive of the association, said: ‘We are proud of the achievements in COVID-19 research, but we must learn from them now if we are to rebuild and transform the entire UK clinical research offering. ‘
The value of clinical research has never been more clear – it is the key to global recovery, improving public health and protecting us from future pandemics.
Overall clinical trial enrollment in the UK was 84 per cent lower in May 2020 compared to May 2019, with the biggest drop of 88 per cent in cancer studies.
France, Germany and Spain saw total enrollment decline between 66 and 70 per cent in May 2020, while Italy recorded the biggest year-on-year decline of 60 per cent in April.
Italy and Spain achieved their non-Covid research activity the fastest in June 2021 compared to June 2019, with enrollments up 37 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, enrollment in the UK is still 15 per cent lower than pre-Covid levels.
The UK is relatively strong in early clinical research and maintains its position as number one in Europe for phase 1 clinical trial activity.
However, its global ranking has dropped from third in 2018 to fourth in 2020.
For Stage 2, the UK ranks third in Europe and fifth globally – below first and second respectively.
However, for subsequent phase 3 trials, which look at large numbers of patients treated with potentially life-saving treatments, the UK has lagged behind several European countries.
As for these, it is now ranked seventh globally and fifth in Europe – after the United States, Spain, Germany, China, Italy and France.
Professor Ramesh Arsardanam, Academic Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians, said: ‘Clinical trials have been instrumental in the development of new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, demonstrating the importance of all-seeing research. Is.
‘At the same time, the disruption caused by the pandemic to other areas of clinical research is very worrying.
‘It is imperative that we return the levels of research activity to at least the level they were in before the pandemic.
‘Participating in non-Covid-19 trials is potentially transformative for the health and wellbeing of patients.
‘Placing research at the heart of the NHS’s recovery will help lead to better outcomes for patients, improve job satisfaction within the workforce and benefit the UK economy.
‘This should be a major priority for policy makers once they emerge from the pandemic.’
The number of people participating in clinical trials in England in 2020/21 was twice as high as in 2019/20, although 905,790 of the 1,390,483 people were participating in COVID research.
Commercial clinical research generated estimated revenues of £355million and estimated cost savings of £28.6million for the NHS in England in 2018/2019.
Russell Eberly, ABPI board member and general manager of UK and Ireland at pharmaceutical firm Amgen, said: ‘Global pharmaceutical companies are looking for the optimal environment to conduct their clinical trials; Places where they can develop strategic partnerships and innovate in clinical development in a timely manner.
‘The UK needs to demonstrate that it can deliver this.
‘The implementation of the recommendations of this report will help make the UK a leading destination for research and development on new medicines, with attractive treatment benefits for patients and economic benefits for the NHS.’
Hilary Reynolds, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities, described the UK’s recovery rate relative to other countries as ‘concerning’.
He added: ‘It is clear that fulfilling its objective of becoming Britain’s science superpower requires substantial and sustained investment and collaboration in research and health care systems, along with proactive and resource commitment from the government.’