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Society welcomes ABPI report on transforming the clinical research environment

Today, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) publishes its Clinical Trials Report for 2020, highlighting that the UK has been leading the rest of Europe in early-stage clinical research. The report also recognises the challenges that COVID-19 poses to research, noting concern about continued disruption threatening this leading position. It calls for action to rebuild and supercharge UK clinical research as part of recovery - and to further Government ambitions for the UK to be a science superpower.
ABPI is calling on the UK Government to:

  1. Take urgent action on a safe and sustainable restart plan to restore non-COVID research across the UK and across all disease areas
  2. Invest in transforming the UK clinical research environment with investment to increase levels of research beyond pre-COVID levels by:
    •  Building a workforce fit for the future with opportunities for all to be involved in research
    • Harnessing the UK’s health data to support the efficient design, feasibility, recruitment and conduct of  the full range of clinical trials
    • Driving continuing high standards for transparency
    • Creating a regulatory environment which supports innovation in life sciences
  3. Improve diversity and inclusion in research, ensuring that all patients have the opportunity to be involved and engaged with research
  4. Make research and innovation central to the UK’s trade strategy
The Society welcomes these recommendations, playing our part to support the clinical research workforce by continuing to partner with ABPI, Health Education England and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance (CPSA) to address clinical pharmacology skills gaps, and running a joint Academy of Medical Sciences FORUM workshop, “Shaping the future training and employment environment for clinical research”, to explore this issue more broadly.
Investing in clinical pharmacology is a critical part of ensuring the UK has the workforce it needs to deliver clinical research in partnership with the NHS and to strengthen the UK as a development base for new therapeutics. Efforts of the CPSA include increasing recruitment to the medical specialty (supported by initiatives such as taster days and investment in training) and the development of a new apprenticeship to support investment in the scientific skills base.
The Society supports development of research in the NHS, including enhancing research capability of the workforce and system to support improved access to research, embedding this into patient care. The Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance joint response to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry on Budget and NHS long-term plan made this case, stating:

Encouraging the wider workforce to develop expertise in these [research] areas would broaden career paths, be attractive to global talent, enhance retention, and increase productivity, whilst bringing direct benefits to patients. To facilitate this, it is essential that time for research, and time for research training, is included in job plans; enabling this will also require investment in workforce capacity. Healthcare professionals must have access to education and training structures to support research, and research should be embedded in the culture of the NHS workforce.


Published: 07 Oct 2020 in Society news