In Norway, very little data are available on the relation between the total number of research projects on the clinical development of drugs that have been started, the number of these projects in which the research phase has been completed and the number of projects for which results have been published. The aim of this study was to determine the number of projects in which the research phase had been completed and the results published.
Information on research projects carried out on the clinical development of drugs during the year 2000 was obtained from the archives of the Norwegian Research Ethical Committee (REC) and subsequently analysed.
The final analysis revealed that 245 research projects on the clinical development of drugs had been started in 2000. Of these, 178 (73%) completed the research phase as planned. The results of 131 (54%) of these projects were published in a scientific journal, and another 34 (14%) were reported as a congress abstract or as report to a sponsor; 80 (33%) were not published at all. Industrial sponsors seemed to promote both the completion of the research process and the publication of results in scientific journals.
Little has been published either concerning the total number of research projects in connection with clinical development of drugs or the number of projects financially supported by the industry.
From the archives of the five regional Norwegian Research Ethical Committees (REC), all research projects in connection with clinical development of drugs for the years 2000 and 2004 were analysed with the intention of finding the number of projects financially supported by the industry, the type of research institution, the industrial company, the topic of the research as classified in the international Anatomic Therapeutic Classification system (ATC), the research phase and the approval status of the drug by the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NMA).
The total number of research projects for the clinical development of drugs for the years 2000 and 2004 was 489, and 75.7% were financially supported by the industry. More than two-thirds of the projects were done in academic institutions and about one-third were equally divided between public health hospitals and private health service/hospitals. Eight of the 88 drug companies involved were among the world's largest and supported 38% of the projects. Fifty-nine percent of all the projects were within four therapeutic groups: antineoplastic/immunomodulating agents, nervous system, cardiovascular system and alimentary tract/metabolism. The distribution of research phases was as follows: phase I 1.2%, phase II 16.4%, phase III 26.6% and phase IV 55.8%. In the phase IV drug trials, drugs had been approved for sale by the NMA.
The share of research projects related to the development of drugs supported by the industry is high. Research independent of the industry is of importance to avoid bias and selective publications and to prevent research as a means of marketing. Independent research should be encouraged and financially supported by sources with no connection to the drug industry.
According to recently passed Danish legislation, all Danish hospitals are obliged to take part in scientific research. As data on financial support for research activities are lacking, we assessed the resources allocated to research from the budget of the central hospital management as a percentage of the total budget at Danish regional hospitals in 2007.
A postal survey was conducted at 13 hospitals in the Western part of Denmark. The questionnaire comprised items in the following major categories: 1) budget allocated specifically for research and travel grants; 2) employment of scientific and technical support staff; 3) facilities and equipment for research; and 4) research dissemination.
Questionnaires were returned from 11 hospitals. Six hospitals reported to have dedicated fixed amounts on the budget for research, exact figures were reported in four cases only equivalent to 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.3% and 0.6% of the total budget. Most hospitals had associate professors, but only five had full professors. Seven hospitals supplied laboratories and technical facilities, eight hospitals held staff-meetings on a regular basis and four published an annual report on research activities.
In the majority of regional hospitals in Western Denmark, less than 0.3% of the total budget administered by the central hospital management was allocated specifically for research. These figures, however, may not be accurate as individual departments may allocate additional resources from local budgets. We recommend that regional hospitals define research strategies and allocate the necessary funding in their budgets.
Concerns regarding a decline in clinical research have been raised internationally. In this study, research initiatives and competitiveness of investigators seeking funding for clinical research were compared with those for three other health research themes in Canada, namely, biomedical, population-based, and health services research.
A retrospective, multi-level descriptive study was conducted using administrative data from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) research grants program. Annual growth rates in numbers of proposals submitted since year 2000 (level I of comparison), success rates of submissions (level II), and growth rates in funding received since fiscal-year 1999-00 (level III) were compared across themes.
Proposal submission (Level I): The average annual rate of growth in proposal submissions for biomedical, clinical, population-based and health services research was 11.8%, 6.3%, 105.0% and 43.2%, respectively. Success rate (Level II) was lower in clinical research (24%; P-value