A series of new measures will be introduced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with support from partners to make it faster and easier to gain approval and to run clinical trials in the UK.
These changes represent the biggest overhaul in UK clinical trials regulation in over 20 years and will help to make the UK one of the best countries in the world to conduct clinical research for patients and researchers.
Under the new framework, clinical trials application processes in the UK will be more proportionate, streamlined and flexible without compromising on safety, helping to cement the UK as an attractive destination for trials, including global ‘multi-site’ trials. For example, the integration of the regulatory and ethics reviews of clinical trial applications, which in pilot phase halved the approval times for studies and cut the time from application to recruiting a first patient by 40 days, will be embedded into the new regulation.
On transparency, the framework will introduce a legal mandate to register the trial in a World Health Organisation (WHO) public register, and a requirement to publish a summary of results within 12 months of the end of the trial. Sharing trial findings with participants in a timely manner and suitable format will also be required by law.
These changes, which follow a public consultation in partnership with the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, have been made possible with the help of the public and the research community.
Comprehensive new guidance, co-designed with these stakeholder groups, will be introduced to accompany the new legislative measures. This will ensure that UK clinical trials truly work in partnership with patients and the public and are representative of the diversity of people who may benefit from the medicine if the data generated ultimately lead to regulatory approval. The guidance will outline how to include patients meaningfully into the design and conduct of trials, and how to achieve diversity in trials in a way that is proportionate and achieves the best results.
Marc Bailey, MHRA Chief Science and Innovation Officer, said: “Our world-first COVID-19 approvals showed how important it is to ensure that regulation is flexible and agile. This overhaul of the clinical trials legislation will do just this – it will move us away from a one-size-fits-all approach to the regulation of clinical trials and help to streamline approvals by removing granular and duplicative regulatory requirements.”
These legislative changes are aligned with the review of clinical trials led by Lord O’Shaughnessy and work undertaken by Sir Patrick Vallance to make the UK a science superpower. They build on the close collaboration with MHRA over recent years to deliver combined ways of working, reducing the complexity of getting trials approved and up and running.
They also support a wider coordinated programme of work that has been developed to ensure the Recovery, Resilience and Growth (RRG) of UK clinical research, as set out in the Government’s bold vision for The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery. Through this vision and plan, the research ecosystem across the UK is working together to achieve the aim of making the UK world-leading in efficient and cutting-edge clinical research.
The full document can be downloaed here - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-legislative-changes-for-clinical-trials