Patients denied new drugs by 'stifling' research rules, report says

Medical advances in the UK are being 'stifled' by overly bureaucratic regulations and need urgent review if patients are to benefit, according to a new report.

In a new report published Tuesday, the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) said the rules governing UK medical research had become 'burdensome' and needed urgent overhaul.

The academy proposed establishing a new independent body, the Health Research Agency, to unite health regulation bodies otherwise scattered across the country.

This would increase the speed at which healthcare innovations become available to patients, the AMS said.

NICE chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, who chaired the report group, said the current regulatory system made it difficult to initiate health research in the UK and was preventing patients from participating in studies.

He said: ‘This is ultimately denying patients early access to new drugs and hindering improvements to public health for the wider society.’

Sir Michael said his team also found clear evidence that health research is being ‘jeopardised by a regulatory and governance framework that has become unnecessarily complex and burdensome’.

In addition, the team said there was no evidence this approach has led to better safeguards for participants in research.

The report recommends establishing two new independent groups.

The Health Research Agency (HRA) would streamline existing approval processes for research, while the National Research Governance Service, based within the HRA, would facilitate research within the NHS.

In response to the report, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley agreed that governance of health research was ‘too complex and scattered across too many different bodies’. He said the government would consider the proposals.

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