May 23, 2022
More process efficiency urged as data shows Finland and Denmark outperform Ireland in drawing research activity
Ireland is attracting fewer clinical trials than some European countries with similar populations and economic performances, according to the results of a survey by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), the representative body for the research-based biopharmaceutical industry.
The 2022 IPHA Clinical Trials Performance Survey, capturing data from 2013 to 2021, shows that IPHA member companies sponsored or collaborated in 294 out of 422 listed industry-sponsored interventional clinical trials. Most of these clinical trials, or 74%, were in Phase III. Cancer accounted for just over half of all IPHA member-sponsored clinical trials.
But Ireland attracted fewer industry-sponsored interventional clinical trials in the period than Finland and Denmark whose populations and economic wealth are similar to ours. Of 2,290 clinical trials carried out in the three countries, 18% were conducted in Ireland compared to 29% in Finland and 53% in Denmark.
Fewer clinical trials were conducted in all three countries in 2019 and 2020 due to Covid-19.
Clinical trials are used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a medicine or a vaccine. A strong clinical research infrastructure gives patients access to sometimes life-saving treatments.
Dr Rebecca Cramp, Director of Code and Regulatory Affairs at IPHA, said Ireland should attract more clinical trials, especially with the scale of the biopharmaceutical industry’s manufacturing footprint.
“Ireland should aim to be a leader in clinical trials in Europe. This survey shows we are some distance off realising that goal. Through the Model Clinical Trial Agreement, we have moved to standardise the approach to conducting clinical research. Standardisation means speed – the number of rounds of discussion and review for contracts should be reduced. That, in turn, should reduce the administrative and financial burden for hospitals and companies. It should cut the time needed to start clinical trials, making us more competitive in attracting trials. But these measures, on their own, won’t be enough,” said Dr Cramp.
IPHA has urged reforms in the clinical trials process to help accelerate new medicines development and raise standards of care. These five steps should help.
The survey can be accessed here.