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Clinical Trials: Coronavirus

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 84241, tabled on 2 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) the covid-19 outbreak and (b) resultant (i) funding reductions and (ii) other factors on the operation of medical trials; and what estimate he has made of the number of deaths as a result of those affected medical trials.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

14 September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 led the National Health Service to suspend many routine clinical services and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to prepare to support the Government’s research response. Subsequently, decisions were taken by research sponsors, funders, investigators and study sites to pause some non-COVID-19 research, and by the NIHR Clinical Research Network to pause set up of new sites or studies, other than for nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies. This led to a rapid and significant reduction in clinical research activity.

The NIHR published a Restart Framework in May 2020 and has established groups to oversee and coordinate the restart of non-COVID-19 research. Restart of non-COVID-19 trials of life-preserving or life-extending treatments that are not otherwise available to patients remain a priority.

We have no evidence to date that studies underway prior to the pandemic, including those paused or stopped, have been impacted by reductions in funding. We are working with partners to assess the potential impact on funding available for future studies.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care
Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.