The UK government intends to make clinical trials more accessible in order to re-establish the country’s reputation as a favoured location for pioneering research.
In a new initiative to jump-start the country’s faltering life sciences goals, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, plus research ethics reviews, could be integrated into making application processes faster for pharmaceutical manufacturers attempting to bring new medications to patients.
It is a critical policy among others proposed by the government, and it marks the most significant revision of clinical trial legislation in the UK in more than 20 years.
According to research published last year by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the number of clinical trials initiated in the UK declined by 41% between 2017 and 2021, and it also zeroed in on the fact that studies were starting at a slower pace.
Over 2,000 comments to the consultation were contributed from around the world by patients, researchers, healthcare professionals, industry trade organizations, academic institutions, as well as individual pharmaceutical businesses.
Other proposed changes include assessing applications within 30 days, eliminating redundant regulations, and allowing studies with risks comparable to regular medical care to be permitted without regulatory approval. The government will also provide recommendations on trial diversity without imposing the possibility of targets or quotas.
The measures come only days after Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced plans to expedite drug approval. In the budget, the government allocated to the MHRA, the UK pharmaceuticals regulator, £10 million, approximately $12 million to explore collaborations with agencies overseas, including those in the US, Japan, and across Europe, to grant approval to drugs that have previously been approved elsewhere.