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Researchers from various disciplines and health condition areas exchanged experiences at the Clinical Trials Forum.

First WHO Clinical Trials Forum Prioritizes Sustainable Research Infrastructure

Clinical trials in primary health care and hospital settings were a special focus of the forum

World Health Organization
Published:Nov 30, 2023
|2 min read
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About 130 experts from 43 countries participated in person, and several joined virtually, in the first WHO Global Clinical Trials Forum on November 20–21, 2023. The objectives of the forum were to:

  • develop a joint vision on strengthening clinical research capabilities aligned with the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA75.8),

  • discuss how to build, enhance, and sustain functional clinical trial capacity that is used all the time and provides utility by addressing day-to-day issues of local clinical and public health importance, and

  • provide an update on clinical research capabilities by region and globally, including key clinical research networks. 

Researchers from various disciplines and disease/health condition areas exchanged experiences. Trialists and clinical scientists from various areas of expertise, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic and neurological disorders, were in attendance.

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

Regulators, ethicists, research funders, patient groups, and community engagement experts were also 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 present.

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, stakeholders in their respective countries discussed barriers and areas of focus. During the two-day discussions, participants called for several priority actions for strengthening the clinical trials ecosystem, including:

  1. Garnering national support for clinical trial infrastructure, including sustained domestic funding as possible in each country.

  2. Improving coordination and streamlining of regulatory and ethics review and approval processes.

  3. Enhancing engagement with patients, the public, and communities throughout the clinical trial process.

  4. Addressing barriers to clinical trials in underrepresented populations such as children and pregnant women.

  5. Enabling clinical trials with digital and information technologies.

  6. Accelerating access to fit-for-purpose training packages for clinical trials, including innovative design.

  7. Engaging clinical practitioners to integrate clinical trials into health systems and practices.

The anticipated outcomes from these actions would ensure fewer, well-designed trials generating compelling evidence for improved policy and practices linked to better patient and population health. The actions would also lead to sustained capacity-building and a streamlined learning process for stakeholders involved in clinical trials.

- This press release was originally published on the World Health Organization website