First WHO Global Clinical Trials Forum puts forward a global vision for sustainable clinical research infrastructure.

  • 1 Dec 2023
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by who

About 130 experts from 43 countries with strong global south representation participated in person, and many more virtually participated in the first WHO Global Clinical Trials Forum on November 20-21, 2023.

The objectives of the forum were to:

During the summit, experiences and lessons learned were exchanged between various disciplines and disease/ health condition areas. Trialists and clinical scientists from various areas of expertise, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic and neurological disorders, were in attendance.

Additionally, experts from mental health, tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, maternal and child health, ageing, vector-borne diseases including dengue fever, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and neglected tropical diseases also participated. 

Apart from those, regulators, ethicists, research funders, patient groups and community engagement experts were part of the forum. Industry groups, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN), International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Associations (IGBA), contract research organizations and several product development partnerships were represented. During the engagement, there were specific focuses on clinical trials in primary health care and intensive care units and in-hospital and vaccine trial settings.

The meeting’s opening session included presentations on the status of the national and regional trial ecosystem in each of the six WHO regions. Moreover, barriers and areas of focus to address these identified problems were also discussed with stakeholders in their respective countries. During the two-day discussions, participants called for several priority actions for strengthening the clinical trials ecosystem, including:

  1. National support for clinical trial infrastructure, including sustained domestic funding as is possible in each country;
  2. Improving coordination and streamlining of regulatory and ethics review and approval processes;
  3. Enhancing engagements with patients, the public and communities throughout the clinical trial process;
  4. Enabling clinical trials with digital and information technologies;
  5. Accelerating access to fit-for-purpose training packages for clinical trials, including innovative design and
  6. Engaging clinical practitioners to integrate clinical trials into health systems and practices.

The anticipated outcomes from these actions would change the clinical trial landscape with fewer, well-designed trials generating compelling evidence for improved policy and practices that lead to improved outcomes in patients and population health. In a nutshell, the actions will lead to sustained capacity-building and a streamlined learning process for stakeholders involved in clinical trials. 

(Source: WHO)