8 Jun 2011

MPs urge action to boost medical trials

12:51 pm on 8 June 2011

The Government is being asked to make urgent changes to significantly boost New Zealand's ability to conduct clinical trials.

In a report released on Wednesday, Parliament's health select committee said clinical trials of medicines, medical devices and certain foods could generate hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy.

The report said clinical trials are aimed at helping those suffering from ill health but an unwieldly ethics system and other factors have weakened New Zealand's competitive advantage.

It says 10 years ago pharmaceutical trials earnt more than $100 million, but overall clinical trial revenue annually now is less than $30 million.

Among other things, the report says, foods claiming health benefits are increasingly prominent and demand will grow for proof that these foods - a major export industry - are safe and effective.

The committee wants action to simplify and streamline ethical review processes and promote collaboration.