The competition between various countries for the venue of the clinical trials is increasingly tough. Finland's future success calls for
- a good research environment
- a smooth process of evaluation by the authorities
- a positive research attitude shown by the people
- cost-efficiency – Finland is an expensive country but we will do well if we act in a smart way
It is also important that the healthcare system provides possibilities for research. Engaging in research calls for both time and interest from the physician, in addition to patients that the match the project. When implementing the social welfare and health reform, we have to ensure that physicians continue to have opportunities to do research work.
Clinical trials of medicinal products
The efficacy, safety and quality of new medicines are tested in clinical trials. Before a novel medicine proceeds to the clinical trials, it already has a long history of research. Clinical trials help to find therapies for diseases where no medication has been available.Clinical trials also create high-competence jobs in pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare sector. They also help to maintain research competence and pharmaceutical knowledge in Finland.
Register-based studies utilise information stored in registers. By world standards, the Finnish healthcare system can avail of exceptionally comprehensive registers which contain conspicuous amounts of societally significant information, for example, on morbidity. Using the materials in different registers, it is possible to analyse the effectiveness of various therapies provided by the healthcare system or follow potential adverse effects or the safety of pharmacotherapies in different patient groups.
The number of register-based studies is growing both in Finland and internationally. The information derived from the registers is in constantly growing demand because the societies facing costs pressures need information on the effectiveness of different pharmacotherapies. At best, this type of research could be a true asset for Finland in the international competition. Register-based studies can attract new research investments in Finland. Using the data in the register, the number of clinical trials may also increase as the registers help to identify the patients that are suitable research subjects.
In order to attract more register-based studies, Finland needs to revise the legislation and the country’s research environment. Currently in the revision process, the Act on the secondary use of registers will simplify the permit process and the processing of the materials.
Research attracts investments sought by every country. Finland’s competitive edge is not the country's size but its smooth permit processes, readily available materials and high-level research competence may weigh down the scale in our favour in the competition for research investments.
Safeguarding future research is imperative
We need to safeguard the future conditions of research because it is vital for Finland in many ways:
- Research operations employ competent people in hospitals, universities and companies.With good research resourcing, both the research outcomes and therapies improve.
- Doctors familiarise themselves with new therapies.
- Patients get new therapy options.
- Finnish research competence grows at universities, research institutes, healthcare and companies.
- The Finnish research community makes new international contacts or maintains its existing international status.
Healthcare resources are curtailed while work pressures increase. Researchers have fewer opportunities to participate in clinical trials. Critical evaluation of published research calls for personal hands-on experience in doing research.
Investigating doctors also have the possibility to learn about new pharmacotherapies before they are introduced to the daily work.
We need a change: besides practical patient work, a research career should also be attractive to doctors in training. This calls for long-term funding and time to dedicate to research, combined with appreciation that will promote the researchers' career paths.
Smooth permit processes
Smooth and rapid permit processes in healthcare constitute an integral element of research competitiveness and efficiency.
Collaborating with the national Sub-Committee on Medical Research Ethics TUKIJA, Pharma Industry Finland PIF has produced useful tools and documents for the parties assigning pharmaceutical research projects. Moreover, with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, we have drafted a template contract to facilitate negotiations.
We want to show that the Finnish pharmaceutical industry is a key player in Finnish research and that clinical trials can continue to constitute a success factor for Finland.