Survey reports untapped potential for UK clinical trials

With the UK Government’s clinical trials landscape independent review expected, a survey has identified “huge untapped potential for trial recruitment”.

Survey reports untapped potential for UK clinical trials

Sixty eight percent of people in the UK would consider taking part in a clinical trial, a survey has found. With over 9 in 10 of people living in the UK having never taken part in a clinical trial, there is huge untapped potential for trial recruitment, suggested the survey.

The data released by Lindus Health offers pharmaceutical policymakers an understanding of how to help get the UK back on track to fulfil its ambitions to be a life sciences superpower.

According to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), in the past five years, there has been 44 percent drop in the number of participants recruited to commercial clinical trials. “… it is vital that we act to rebuild competitiveness” commented George Freeman, Minister for State at the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology in February 2023.

Carried out online in 2022, 1,049 people responded to the survey. Of the participants, 68.6 percent would consider taking part in one, irrespective of the phase, the data reported.

The results identified financial payment as the most popular motivation for taking part in clinical studies. Discovering new treatments and the importance of clinical research were also recognised as top considerations.

Key concerns for participants include safety and health, the time and effort required and a lack of job flexibility.

Although Black/African/Caribbean/Black British responders’ incentives matched the general sample, they also included general interest in science as an incentive for both early and late phase clinical trials.

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Reviving UK clinical trial recruitment

This week, publication of the UK Government’s independent review of the UK clinical trials landscape is expected. It will include recommendations of priorities for progressing in 2023, in addition to setting longer-term goals for UK clinical trials.

The review 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, the UK Government’s Office for Life Sciences reported.

“traditionally [the UK has] been a strong global location for trials, as demonstrated most recently through the ground-breaking Covid Recovery trial which was set up in record time and was the world’s largest randomised controlled trial for COVID-19,” highlighted Freeman in February 2023.

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The newly-released data comes as statistics from the ABPI show that the number of clinical trials in the UK has dropped. The UK is falling behind globally – especially for Phase III trials, noted the APBI. In the UK, fewer Phase I trials are carried out than in the US, China and Australia. For Phase III, the UK is lagging behind countries including Spain, France, Germany, Poland and Italy. Cancer trials have seen the biggest fall in numbers in the UK.

“the old-fashioned clinical trials industry is holding back the development of life-changing treatments,” stated Michael Young, Co-Founder of Lindus Health.

“The UK has the tools to be a life sciences superpower, including citizens willing to participate in clinical research,” reminded Young.