Madrid, May 20th 2016.– The research and development of new medicines represents the pharmaceutical industry’s raison d’être. Pharmaceutical companies invested 950 M€ in R&D activities in 2014 and this makes it the leading industrial sector as far as these types of investments are concerned (21% of the total).
More than half of this amount (487 million, 51.26% of the total) was allocated to financing clinical trials, an effort which is reflected by a 63% increase of investment over the last decade; a figure which is worth highlighting particularly today, the International Clinical Trials day.
Clinical trials are an essential part of the research process. This phase might take up to six-years in the development process of a medicine. Taking the latter into account, Farmaindustria created the Innovative Medicines Platform in 2005, with the aim of fostering public-private biomedical research in Spain. This initiative has materialized in two specific programs: the Farma-Biotech cooperation project, and the Best Project about excellence in clinical research. A decade later, results are becoming tangible.
Almost 2,500 clinical trials
The Best Project, set up in 2006, gathers together 46 pharmaceutical companies which foster research in our country, 13 Autonomous Regions, 50 public and private hospitals and three independent clinical research teams. Best’s aim is to monitor different clinical trials’ processes and implement measures in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness. Currently, it holds information on almost 2,500 clinical trials and facilitates the monitoring of the most important indicators as far as clinical research is concerned.
Amongst the most outstanding results of the Best Project is the improvement of the timelines for the set up of clinical trials. The global time to initiate a clinical trial has been reduced by 27% during the last decade (from 244 days in 2004 to 170 days in 2014) and Spain has actually become one of the top seven European countries to undertake clinical trials.
The efficacy of the recruiting process has also been improved, moving from 95% to 106% during the last ten-years, although there is room for improvement in certain therapeutic areas and Autonomous Regions.
New Royal Decree
Currently, through the Best Project, Farmaindustria is centered on two objectives: the appropriate set up of the new Royal Decree of Clinical Trials, and improving the participation of patients in clinical research. In the first case, it is important to harmonize the disparities and requirements between different Ethic Committees and hospitals.
With regards to the participation of patients in this environment, Farmaindustria has been organizing different informative and training workshops with patients’ organizations in different therapeutic areas (cancer, diabetes, rheumatic diseases, rare diseases, etc.) since 2005. Farmaindustria informs about the nature of clinical trials, how they are developed, how they are regulated in Spain, and which volume of activity is generated by the pharmaceutical industry in this field. These activities have attracted an ever increasing interest due to the patients’ growing educational needs which correspond to the more active role that has been granted to patients by this new Royal Decree.