Contract research worth £192M a year to U.K. NHS, says KPMG

Research
Clinical research activity supported by the Clinical Research Network generated £2.4 billion in the U.K.'s 2014-15 fiscal year.

Carrying out contract clinical research for life science companies injects around £192 million into the U.K. National Health Service every year in income and cost savings, says a new report.

That equates to £176 million in direct income from trial sponsors--£6,658 for every patient enrolled--and another £16 million in savings from the provision of medicines free of charge for use in trials, according to the KPMG study, which says this frees up NHS resources for investment in other medicines and broadens access to healthcare for patients.

The NHS' clinical research activities are largely orchestrated by the U.K. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which was set up in 2006 and has since become a boost to the country’s economy, says KPMG. In fact, the NIHR's Clinical Research Network helped generate £2.4 billion of gross value added in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

In the U.K., KPMG estimates that about 70% of clinical research activity, both commercial and non-commercial, is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN). Within the U.K.’s fiscal year cycle between April 2014 and March 2015, all together 1,869 studies which recruited over 618,000 patients were added to the CRN’s portfolio.

Besides the monetary value and an additional 39,500 jobs contributed to the country’s economy, the U.K.’s governmental clinical research infrastructure is also getting indirect benefits from conducting clinical studies for the life sciences industry.

“Having a research-active NHS gives better outcomes for patients, and this report helps to understand how it can also save the NHS money and can generate additional funding to reinvest into innovative research,” Matt Cooper, CRN director for business development and marketing, said in a statement.

Other benefits of a healthy government-run clinical research entity might not be easily quantified but are still as important. Some of those identified by the report include that the network has established a higher profile of the clinical research market of the U.K., which has attracted further commercial attention; staff and the organization as a whole is better equipped with proper knowledge gained from clinical researches, and is becoming more proficient in setting up and processing studies.

The report "shows the additional value that can be leveraged from the funding of a nationally managed infrastructure which can deliver safe, high quality clinical trials for the benefit of patients and the public," said Cooper.