UK falls behind other countries in clinical trial activity 

While trial activity has since recovered to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels in Australia and the US, the UK remains behind, according to reporting by Andrew Hillman, healthcare and pharmaceuticals data journalist at GlobalData. 

Hillman explained that the UK commenced 18% fewer commercial trials during the first three quarters of 2021 than over the same period in 2019. In contrast, new trial activity is reportedly above pre-pandemic levels in Australia and the US, with Australia initiating 6% more commercial trials than during the first three quarters of 2019 and the US initiating 8% more commercial trials. 

Hillman said: “The UK had been slipping down global rankings over the five years prior to the pandemic and Covid-19 exaggerated existing issues. During the first half of the decade, one in every seven oncology trials included participation within the UK. However, by 2019, that figure had fallen to just one in 12. 

“Covid-19 trials in the UK have benefited from more streamlined and pragmatic regulatory processes. These trials have also been assisted by a more proactive approach to trial initiation and participant recruitment within the NHS. Yet, the pandemic has demonstrated that an overwhelmed NHS is incompatible with a thriving clinical research sector and therefore alleviating the current pressures on the health service is key to the recovery in trial activity.” 

Image credit: Fusion Medical Animation

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