A new report out today that calls for more to be done to encourage advances in clinical research in the UK has been welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).


​The report, Strengthening Clinical Research, published by the Academy of Medical Sciences, highlights key issues that the ABPI has raised about the value of research for the UK.

"This report adds weight to the pharmaceutical industry's position on clinical research in the UK," said ABPI Director General Dr Trevor Jones. "We have a proud record of research here, but importantly, the report draws attention to the fact that we need even better infrastructure to ensure that the UK can continue to be a preferred location for clinical studies."

The report specifically cites increasingly complex and bureaucratic ethical and legal requirements in the UK and EU for a serious lack of activity in UK clinical trials.

"In recent years, through the PICTF initiative, we have made significant progress to reduce bureaucracy, but clearly there is considerable room for even more. The practical consequences are that, at present, patients have to wait longer for new medicines, and in some cases they may be deprived of them altogether. We believe that a co-ordinated network for clinical trials within the NHS would be a major step forward," said Dr Jones.

The report also recognises the importance of encouraging the presence of research conducted by the pharmaceutical industry in the UK - which conducts both experimental medicine and clinical trials.

The pharmaceutical industry invested £3.2 billion pounds in R&D in the UK in 2002 - nearly £9 million every day. In addition, nearly a quarter of the world's top 100 medicines were discovered and developed in Britain, more than any country except the US.

Of the total amount spent on healthcare-related R&D in the UK, the pharmaceutical industry contributes significantly more than all other sectors combined. The industry spent 65 per cent of the total investment in 2002, compared to eight per cent by the Medical Research Council (MRC), 11 per cent by the Department of Health, three per cent by higher education sources and 13 per cent by medical charities.

"Huge as the industry's investment is, there is still room to improve the R&D environment in the UK," said Dr Jones. "When companies put their money into researching new medicines, it is a major commitment - and the more that can be done to provide the infrastructure, investment incentives and an overall priority for research, the more the pharmaceutical industry will be encouraged to invest here in the UK."

The report makes a number of recommendations about ways to improve the current situation which the ABPI also welcomes.

These include:

  • Establishing a National Network for Clinical Research within the NHS to create and support excellence in clinical research.
  • Improving career structures and incentives for those undertaking clinical research.
  • Improving the regulatory environment needed to support clinical research within the NHS and promote public involvement.

Note to editors

PICTF refers to the Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Taskforce - a joint initiative between the pharmaceutical industry and the Government. It was set up by the Prime Minister in March 2000 for the Government and industry to work in partnership to see what action needs to be taken to ensure the UK remains an attractive place for the pharmaceutical industry to locate its business in an increasingly competitive global environment.

For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410

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