Today, a quality healthcare system is inconceivable without solid research activity, and it is the foundation on which a modern society must be built. This is because clinical research generates a virtuous circle that allows healthcare professionals to participate in the latest advances in science, in cooperation with colleagues from other countries, and to apply them to their healthcare work, which contributes to increasing the quality of healthcare provision; it opens up new opportunities for patients, especially relevant in serious cases that do not respond to the available therapeutic arsenal; it attracts funding from the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies to the participating hospitals, both public and private, and provides savings to healthcare systems.
Spain has understood the value of biomedical research in recent times and, as a result of years of work and public-private collaboration, together with the commitment of healthcare professionals and patients, it has become an international benchmark in this field, being for many pharmaceutical companies the second country, behind only the United States, in launching clinical trials.
This was recalled by the associate director of Clinical and Translational Research at Farmaindustria, Amelia Martín Uranga, last Wednesday at the second edition of the Hiris Healthcare Gala, where the conclusions of a survey of healthcare professionals were presented, revealing that they consider research to be essential for their professional updating and development and for improving the quality of care, but that, as negative aspects, they highlight the lack of time and resources.
In this sense, Martín Uranga stressed the need to promote the training of healthcare centres (primary care and hospital) to carry out clinical trials, especially those that carry out little or only sporadic research, providing them with infrastructure and personnel specialised in the management and execution of clinical trials. “Today, most clinical research is concentrated in two communities, Madrid and Catalonia, and it is time to work on the decentralisation of clinical trials, because it will benefit professionals and the health system, but above all, patients,” he said.
Coordination with regional health councils and services
This training, he said, must be carried out in close coordination with the regional health departments and health services of the autonomous communities, with managers committed to and involved in facilitating an ecosystem that favours clinical research. And not only that. Martín Uranga called for a “national commitment” to ensure that Spain remains at the forefront of biomedical research. “The increase in international competitiveness and digitalisation will require more investment in infrastructures and resources to ensure that our country remains at the forefront of biomedical R&D,” he said.
“The public-private collaboration model is a success story, as demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic, so its strengthening and promotion should be considered as major challenges for the future of our healthcare system,” she added.
Finally, the Farmaindustria spokeswoman recalled that, in addition to Spain’s outstanding position in clinical research, we also have a high level of basic research; however, “there is a deficit of knowledge transfer between the two. In this area, the tractor effect that large pharmaceutical companies can have on emerging companies and public research centres is fundamental. We need to overcome obstacles and create stimuli that allow us to carry out an adequate transfer of technology and knowledge from the public to the private sector”.