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UK needs new health research agency to speed up approval process

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d185
  1. Luisa Dillner
  1. 1BMJ

Health research in the United Kingdom is being stifled by over-regulation and urgently needs a new single agency to reduce delays in launching trials, says a report from the Academy of Medical Sciences.

The work was commissioned in May 2010 by Andy Burnham, the then Labour health secretary for England, after a report earlier that year from the academy warned that the UK’s global share of patients in clinical trials had fallen from 6% to 2% in the past decade. The new report was written by a working group from academia, industry, the NHS, medical research charities, regulators, and the public and was chaired by Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

Launching the report, Professor Rawlins said, “Medical research in the UK is over-regulated [and] over-governanced . . . Just as an example, Cancer UK calculated that the time it takes from the day they award a research grant for a particular trial to the time the first patient comes into the trial is 621 days, and …

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