“Collaboration is essential for success”
Around 70 people attended the stakeholder meeting, “Potential in Nordic Clinical Research Cooperation”, that took place at Hotel Bristol in the centre of Oslo. Mr Høie started off by underlining the importance of the work that Nordic Trial Alliance (NTA) has carried out over the last three years, and took the time to congratulate NordForsk on the 10-year anniversary in 2015.
“I know that Nordic collaboration is looked upon with great interest by the outside world. NordForsk has grown to be a mature 10-year old, is now a key player in Nordic collaboration and the Nordic region has become a leading region of knowledge. I believe there is an unreleased potential for a strong Nordic collaboration in the health sector and one of the areas of greatest potential is, in my view, Nordic collaboration in clinical research”, the minister stated.
Mr Høie continued by arguing why there is a strong need and potential for Nordic cross-border cooperation in clinical trials.
“Nordic collaboration on clinical research and health registers is increasingly relevant, especially in the light of the development of personalised medicine. The Nordic countries share similarities, both within research groups and research infrastructure. The Nordic population trust clinical research, which is evident from the number of patients willing to participate in clinical research and the Nordic countries are attractive to the pharmaceutical industry with a total population of 26 million”, he explained.
He also raised the question on how we ensure that NTA’s effort will continue after 2016, given the need to increase the number of clinical trials in the Nordic region. Høie answered the question himself.
“We need to take into account the new developments in technology and personalised medicine. In this context, Nordic and international collaboration is essential. I believe we should pursue Bo Könberg's proposal on ethical review of clinical trials. This should be part of the future Nordic collaboration on clinical trials and health registers. The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services is looking at how we can collaborate on clinical trials and ethical reviews, after 2016, Høie said before adding an encouraging quote:
“Norway acquires the chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2017. This represents an opportunity to take our initiatives forward. The future health challenges in the Nordic region cannot be handled by one country alone and by joining forces, we will be able to achieve more, in favour of the patient and the future health services,” he concluded.
Text: Tor Martin Nilsen
Photo of Bent Høie: Helse og omsorgsdepartementet/ http://bit.ly/23MVfe0