Report: Trends in Australian Clinical Trials

BioMedVic welcomes a new report released by the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry that reveals insights into the landscape of clinical trials in Australia.

The report draws on data from over 10,000 Australian clinical trials registered between 2006 and 2015 and identifies national trends in clinical trial activity.

Over 5 million people participated in Australian clinical trials during the reported period, with 18, 19 and 7 percent participating in cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders trials, respectively.

The report identifies a moderate growth in the total number of trials registered each year, reflecting increases in non-industry-sponsored smaller-scale trials and non-drug interventions. In fact, non-drug trials grew from 43 percent in 2006 to 58 percent in 2015.

Industry-funded trials remain the largest investment source – estimated at $930 million of the total $1.1 billion spent on clinical trials in Australia each year. Government provides over $164 million for clinical trials through the NHMRC and other sources, with growth in investment anticipated through the MRFF.

The report calls for further assessment of the reduction in trial size over 2006-2015 (median of 167 participants down to 97) and proposes this change could be due either to appropriate changes for more targeted therapies, or inappropriate reductions in sample size.

The report stresses the need for a publicly-accessible national database of all clinical trials conducted in Australia, to help reduce unnecessary overlap, facilitate the promotion of research collaboration and a reduction in publication bias, as well as highlight research gaps.

“Given their demonstrable value, clinical trials in Australia appear to have a bright future, particularly if ongoing investment is made,” writes ANZCTR Manager Prof Lisa Askie and Director Prof John Simes. “The optimisation of such investment will require multiple strategies, including making full use of the data available through the ANZCTR, now and into the future.”

Updated editions of The Clinical Trials Landscape in Australia are planned for every two years.