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Two thirds of Brits would take part in a clinical trial to help discover new treatments - but financial payment is key

The majority of people in the UK (68%) would consider taking part in a clinical trial, it has been revealed today (22 May), while half of Brits would also be willing to take part in an early phase clinical trial.

Financial payment is the most popular motivation for taking part in a clinical trial, but discovering new treatments and the importance of clinical research are also top considerations.

Yet despite this willingness, more than 9 in 10 of people living in the UK have never taken part in a trial, suggesting there is huge untapped potential for trial recruitment. Key concerns for participants include safety and health, the time and effort required, and a lack of job flexibility. Between 2017 and 2021 there was a 44% drop in participants recruited to commercial clinical trials - which is currently being investigated in an independent government review of the UK clinical trials landscape.

Amongst Black, African and Caribbean respondents, a lack of trust is one of the top barriers to taking part in an early phase clinical trial, yet this group is still more likely to have previously taken part in clinical trials at any stage.

The newly-released data comes as statistics from the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry show that the number of clinical trials in the UK has plummeted, with the UK falling behind globally - especially for Phase III trials. The number of trials initiated in the UK fell by 41% between 2017 and 2021. In the UK, fewer Phase I trials are carried out than in the US, China and Australia. For Phase III, the UK is lagging behind countries including Spain, France, Germany, Poland and Italy. Cancer trials have seen the biggest fall in numbers in the UK.

The data, released today by clinical trials start-up Lindus Health, provides policymakers with an understanding of how to help get the UK back on track to fulfil its ambitions to be a life sciences superpower.

Michael Young, Co-Founder of Lindus Health, said:

“Clinical trials are crucial to the process of discovering cutting-edge treatments that can save lives.

“The UK has the tools to be a life sciences superpower, including citizens willing to participate in clinical research - yet the number of clinical trials is nose diving and 9 in 10 people here have never taken part in one.

“From failing to give participants the financial compensation and flexibility they need, to a cumbersome process that requires far too much time and effort, the old-fashioned clinical trials industry is holding back the development of life-changing treatments.”

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Last Updated: 23-May-2023