Call for increase in Nordic clinical trials

Call for increase in Nordic clinical trials

In a letter sent to their Nordic colleagues last week, the ministers of health in Norway and Finland, Bent Høie and Juha Rehula, call for a joint Nordic effort for closer cooperation in health research to increase the number of clinical trials.

The backdrop for the initiative is a joint concern over the decline in clinical trials during the last few years, states Dagens Medisin.

“The aim is to achieve stronger cooperation between the Nordic countries to increase the number of clinical trials in the region. We have good prospects in the Nordic region to perform clinical trials - but the challenge is that the patient groups in each country are too small”, says Bent Høie to Dagens Medisin. 

The letter refers to the Nordic Trial Alliance – a pilot project funded by NordForsk and the Nordic Council of Ministers targeted towards enhancing Nordic cooperation on clinical multi-centre trials – and the affiliated Working Group on Ethics. The Working Group stated in its report, the Ethical Review Process for Clinical Trials in the Nordic Countries, that similarities in the ethical review process could be turned into an advantage. 

In the letter, Finland invites all the Nordic health ministers to a two-day conference on Nordic cooperation in health research in August.

Høie talked to NordForsk about clinical research

During an interview with NordForsk in the autumn of 2014, Bent Høie shared his thoughts on stronger Nordic research cooperation within the health care sector. Høie pointed particularly to the opportunities to be found in clinical and registry-based research.

“It is important to ensure that adequate research funding is available, but as a general rule we politicians must also stay out of decisions about which research projects receive funding. This applies at the Nordic level as well. However, I must say that the decline in clinical trials in the Nordic countries is a problem that we take seriously. It is critical that we reverse this trend, as more studies will benefit all Nordic patients by providing quicker access to new medications and treatments,” Mr Høie explained to NordForsk Magazine.

Read the complete interview with Bent Høie in NordForsk Magazine 2014

Download NTA's report on the Ethical Review Process for Clinical Trials in the Nordic Countries

Read the full article from Dagens Medisin (in Norwegian)

Text: Tor Martin Nilsen

Photo of Bent Høie: Terje Heiestad