The government has appointed Lord James O’Shaughnessy, former Health Minister, to conduct an independent review into the UK’s commercial clinical trials landscape.
It will build on the government’s 10-year vision for clinical trials, Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery, published in March 2021 and will take account of the work of the Recovery Resilience and Growth (UK RRG) programme, which brings together partners across the health system and industry to help deliver this 10-year vision.
The review was spurred on by ABPI statistics that showed a 44% drop in the number of participants recruited to clinical trials in the last 5 years (exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic) and also the number of industry clinical trials initiated in the UK per year falling by 41% between 2017 and 2021. However, these figures do not include the significant clinical trial industry sector run by SMOs, which as our article below highlights, have continued to prosper.
We welcome the news of the review into the UK clinical trials landscape and it is positive that the government is conducting this important review to ensure that the UK remains recognised as a global leader in clinical trials.
We are passionate about and committed to making the UK once again an attractive place in which to undertake clinical trials. Following the TIGRR report in 2021 (which did not consult with many pharma and no CROs or SMOs) we convened a meeting with our pharma and CRO clients to discuss the factors which would help with this. The meeting, which was chaired by Jo Pisani – former Head of Life Sciences at PwC, was a great success and we had a robust and positive discussion. Following our meeting we agreed key areas for action to make the UK once again an attractive place in which to undertake clinical trials. We have submitted these recommendations to Lord O’Shaugnessy for consideration as part of his clinical trials review.
Lord O’Shaughnessy will publish his advice this spring and is set to include recommendations on how commercial clinical trials can help the life sciences sector unlock UK growth and investment opportunities and will also advise on how to resolve key challenges in conducting commercial clinical trials in the UK. We look forward to seeing the results.