Spain authorised more than 900 clinical trials with medicines in 2022, according to the Spanish Clinical Trials Register (REEC), which is coordinated by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios). Despite being close to a thousand, “only 7.5% of clinical trials in Spain involve a primary care specialist”, explained Farmaindustria’s Director of Relations with the Autonomous Communities, José Ramón Luis-Yagüe. In this context, the pharmaceutical industry association has launched a project to promote clinical trials in outpatient clinics. “We have more than 3,000 health centres in which 50,000 healthcare professionals work. Against that we have 832 hospitals. We have to take advantage of this opportunity,” Luis-Yagüe said this week at the 19th Pharmaceutical Industry and Media Seminar.
Specifically, they want a patient with a chronic pathology who is being monitored at their health centre to have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial on their ailment elsewhere. This project to promote clinical trials in health centres is “an opportunity for the country”, as the plan goes into the need to train professionals in this area, provide the centres with resources to enable research and achieve good coordination with the regional health authorities; all of this by promoting public-private collaboration. “The best example we have in Spain of public-private collaboration is clinical trials, and their management must be streamlined,” said Luis-Yagüe.
For the director general of Farmaindustria, Juan Yermo, “there is an opportunity for research in primary care, which will be an incentive for doctors in this speciality, as these professionals are in great need of motivation”. All the scientific societies representing primary care, foundations and research institutes, the administration of six autonomous communities, nine pharmaceutical companies and three patient organisations, such as the Platform of Patient Organisations, have participated in the development of this plan.
Although it is an “ambitious” project, as Luis-Yagüe himself pointed out, the first step has been to create a guide. The document, currently awaiting publication, reflects the strengths, weaknesses, barriers and opportunities identified to promote clinical research at this level of care and, at the same time, includes a series of strategic recommendations to help the different public and private agents in the field. The guide contains eight recommendations to promote clinical research with medicines in outpatient settings. The first of these is to foster a research culture and to develop a specific regional strategy for clinical research in primary care.
It also aims to facilitate, recognise and encourage clinical research and place technology at its service, as well as to create and promote networks that activate the participation of health centres in clinical research. In addition to promoting public-private collaboration, the plan seeks to harmonise, simplify and streamline the management of clinical research. Finally, it seeks to promote the participation and interest of society in clinical trials at this level of care.