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Clinical research in Finland in 2002 and 2007: quantity and type

16 May 2013

Background:
Regardless of worries over clinical research and various initiatives to overcome problems, few quantitative data on the numbers and type of clinical research exist. This article aims to describe the volume and type of clinical research in 2002 and 2007 in Finland.
Methods:
The research law in Finland requires all medical research to be submitted to regional ethics committees (RECs). Data from all new projects in 2002 and 2007 were collected from REC files and the characteristics of clinical projects (76% of all submissions) were analyzed.
Results:
The number of clinical projects was large, but declining: 794 in 2002 and 762 in 2007. Drug research (mainly trials) represented 29% and 34% of the clinical projects; their total number had not declined, but those without a commercial sponsor had. The number of different principal investigators was large (630 and 581). Most projects were observational, while an experimental design was used in 43% of projects. Multi-center studies were common. In half of the projects, the main funder was health care or was done as unpaid work; 31% had industry funding as the main source. There was a clear difference in the type of research by sponsorship. Industry-funded research was largely drug research, international multi-center studies, with randomized controlled or other experimental design. The findings for the two years were similar, but a university hospital as the main research site became less common between 2002 and 2007.
Conclusions:
Clinical research projects were common, but numbers are declining; research was largely funded by health care, with many physicians involved. Drug trials were a minority, even though most research promotion efforts and regulation concerns them.

Date: 
16 May 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health Research Policy and Systems