There is a real opportunity to offer the latest treatment methods at Norwegian hospitals without burdening public budgets, says Norway Health Tech.
Industry-backed clinical trials can generate massive gains for Norwegian healthcare. This is the conclusion of a recent Menon Economics report.
“There really is no good reason why the number of clinical trials in Norway should decline. Our member companies report that they are eager to participate in clinical trials, but that they find it challenging to engage Norwegian hospitals in a dialogue about it,” said Kathrine Myhre, CEO of Norway Health Tech.
Between 2006 and 2013, the number of clinical trials in Europe and North America increased by more than 30 percent. In the same period clinical trials in Norway declined by 30 percent, according to the Menon report.
Norway Health Tech believes that clinical trials are a prerequisite for accelerating development and verification of new medical products.
“The Norwegian healthcare sector is missing out on great opportunities. Industry-backed trials and studies can lead to quite beneficial results for public health care, the most obvious of which is that patients receive better treatment options and treatment quality, possibly prolonging life due to early treatment access”, Kathrine Myhre says.
More clinical studies would provide:
- Increased quality of treatment and prolonged life for patients.
- Increased competence of health professionals.
- Increased health care effectiveness, enabling new investment.
- Increased research, more jobs and better value creation.
- Better cost efficiency in health care.
The pharmaceutical industry even covers the costs of clinical trials themselves – amounting to NOK 156 000 per patient.
-More clinical trials is a win-win for everybody, Myhre says.
Massive value creation
Today, every clinical study generates a transfer of NOK 2.9 million from the pharmaceutical industry to Norwegian hospitals, for an annual total of NOK 277 million. Clinical studies in Norway employ approximately 450 man-years. The total value addedv of NOK 2.7 billion will in turn increase tax revenue for state and municipalities:
“We are aware that the report was ordered by the pharmaceutical industry. We still believe the favourable findings to be relevant to all clinical trials of medicines, medical devices and products. Investment is needed to build more test facilities and increase the health industry’s capacity to complete clinical trials”, says Myhre.
Clinical trials are expensive and unprofitable. Only passionate health care professionals able to put in overtime can “afford” to conduct clinical trials. In the Menon report, 60 percent of health personnel say they put in extra hours when participating in trials, averaging six hours overtime per week.
Wanted: A clear strategy
“We need a clear political message from the authorities. This must be followed with requirements from The Health Ministry. Strong hospital leadership can then facilitate clinical trials of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and products. We must create a culture in which it is meritorious and commendable to conduct clinical studies”, Kathrine Myhre says.
“The Menon report shows that we have a real opportunity to offer the latest treatment methods at Norwegian hospitals without burdening public budgets. However, individual hospitals around the country must build this culture and establish actual systems for clinical trials”.