Big Pharma pulls out of U.K. trials

There's more bad news today for the U.K.'s drug development industry. Pfizer, Roche and Merck Serono have all decided to cut back on clinical research there, according to the Financial Times. The problem, companies say, is that too few U.K. patients are receiving cutting-edge drugs like Avasin and Erbitux, making it difficult for experimental therapies to be tested against patients already on those drugs. Just yesterday the U.K.'s National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence advised against the use of Avastin and Erbitux. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry recently found that, 20 trials at just four companies didn't happen because of difficulty recruiting patients. "In the long-term there is a serious risk that if we get to the point where none of the new drugs are being used in the U.K., the trials won't be done here," said Harpal Kumar, head of Cancer Research UK.

- read the Financial Times article