Clinical research and late phase clinical trials

Scientists having a meeting

​We work with members and key partners to enhance the clinical research environment in the UK, striving to be competitive within Europe for initiating and completing valuable research.

The treatments discovered and developed in the UK help to save lives, reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for millions of people all over the world. We have traditionally been at the forefront of international medicines research – only the USA has discovered and developed more medicines.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials have always been a vital part of the medicine development process, as they provide data on the best ways of treating diseases.

The UK has made a significant contribution to this, and continues to do so. With a high concentration of research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, leading centres of academic medicine, and a long history of pioneering research, we are one of the leading venues in Europe for running the complex and often multinational studies needed to develop new medicines.

A strategy for research

A Government-sponsored strategy for research in the NHS continues to work towards improving the research processes in the UK and the advent of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC). The formation of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in England, NHS Research Scotland (NRS) and National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) in Wales has brought innovation to the way clinical research is conducted in the UK.  

The NIHR has implemented the Research Support Services (RSS) across England to professionalise the local management of health research through national standards for governance, incorporating a risk-proportionate approach to assessment at NHS sites and collecting and publishing outcome indicators. Key objectives are to eliminate duplication in the review process, speed up approval decisions and improve reliability and the quality of clinical research delivery.

Working with our member companies

We work with our member companies, encouraging participation in Government initiatives which enhance the clinical research environment in the UK. We host groups with special interest in specific disease areas (e.g. cancer) or innovations (e.g. electronic health research and database use) in order to coordinate industry participation in specific collaborations. We provide a neutral forum to share best practice and work with our team of experts in clinical research and medical affairs (the ABPI Clinical Research Expert Network and Medical Expert Network) to represent the UK pharmaceutical industry on research matters by instilling good practice and innovative approaches. We keep ABPI members informed of regulatory, policy and legislative developments which affect the clinical research environment.


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