UK Government Focus on Strengthening Clinical Research amidst Unique Challenges of Brexit

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After three successful events with UK government officials, ACRO
concludes its 2018 Clinical Research Roundtable series having brought
attention to the vital role of clinical research. To highlight the
impact of the industry and the need for continued success of clinical
research in the UK, ACRO collaborated with its member companies to
conduct a series of discussions with government officials. The events
culminated with specific policy recommendations to improve
competitiveness amidst the challenges of withdrawing from the European

At the first event, representatives from the UK’s major clinical
research organizations (CROs) met with the Rt Hon Hilary Benn (Labour –
Leeds Central), Chair of the Exiting the European Union select
committee, to discuss the implications of separating from the European
Union. Hosted by ACRO member Covance, the meeting included a tour of
research facilities that are a source of hundreds of highly skilled jobs.

Focused on strengthening UK leadership in clinical research and
public-private partnerships, the second Roundtable was hosted by Syneos
Health at their new headquarters in Farnborough. ACRO members were
joined by senior officials from the National Institute for Health
Research and the Department of International Trade.

The third Clinical Research Roundtable event, a discussion with Lord
O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and
Social Care), examined how to advance clinical research in the UK.

“It has been great to support ACRO to develop a strong dialogue between
the industry and policymakers in the UK,” said Tim Sheppard, UKI Market
Development Director at IQVIA, who hosted the meeting at St
Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. “IQVIA are delighted that we could
bring Lord O’Shaughnessy to debate the key issues with our colleagues
from across the industry and for him to visit Barts Health NHS Trust and
hear about some of the great work done here.”

Meeting participants were encouraged by the Government’s commitment to
positioning the UK as an attractive and globally competitive location
for clinical research. The conduct of clinical research in the UK builds
on the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, while also
serving NHS patients, who receive care and treatment through their
participation in research.

Following the discussion, ACRO proposed six policy changes to address
current research challenges, with solutions that position the country
for future successes that can be shared by all stakeholders. Those policy
were presented to Lord O’Shaughnessy. The proposals
included creating centralized ethics review and centralized contracting
mechanisms, the “Right to Write” such that UK doctors should be able to
directly contact patients not registered under them who could benefit
from participation in clinical trials, modernizing health data access
policies, prioritizing clinical research within hospitals and supporting
high-throughput clinical research facilities in NHS hospitals.

“ACRO has been very engaged in representing the clinical research
industry’s interests and concerns about Brexit,” said Karen Noonan,
ACRO’s Vice President, Global Regulatory Policy. “We are pleased that
the UK Government is committed to the advancement of clinical research
and look forward to identifying policies that advance this work in ways
that benefit stakeholders across the UK.” The clinical research industry
is vital to healthcare in the UK. Each year, the UK clinical research
industry conducts over 1,600 studies that involve more than 35,000
patients. ACRO member companies are also a major source of employment,
providing over 13,000 highly skilled jobs. With pan-European health,
data, privacy and economic implications, clinical research in the UK has
impacts inside the country and beyond its borders.

About ACRO

The Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) represents
companies that provide a variety of specialized services that support
the development of new pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices.
Through its member companies, ACRO helps improve the quality, efficiency
and safety of biomedical research. ACRO member companies employ more
than 130,000 professionals worldwide and conduct research in more than
100 countries. For more information, please visit