Federal Health Minister allocates substantial funding to boost clinical trials in Australia

science laboratory test tubes

On Friday, May 19, 2017, Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP announced an additional $33 million in funding for clinical trials in Australia.

Mr Hunt delivered the announcement at the Australian Clinical Trial Alliance’s National Trial of the Year Awards, hosted at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, just prior to the International Clinical Trials Day held May 20, 2017.

The funding boost will be funnelled through four initiatives. The Medical Research Future Fund will receive $13 million to support research into public health. The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance will be allocated $5 million to continue their work in maintaining first-class clinical trial standards. A substantial $8 million will be utilised by the Medical Research Future Fund to boost Fellowship schemes and support future Australian researchers. Moreover, a further $7 million will be dispersed over the course of four years to assist in redesigning State and Territory clinical trial operating systems with the purpose of centralisation.

Chief Executive of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Professor Anne Kelso welcomed the additional funding at the National Trial of the Year awards ceremony, citing “clinical trials are absolutely critical for improving healthcare.”

Currently, the NHMRC allocates $100 million to select clinical trials each year. The trials are examined through a review panel and scrutinised for quality and potential success.

NHMRC Director of Clinical Trials, Dr Gordon McGurk, recently spoke to ABC Radio Canberra [May 19, 2017] about the funding process.

“The average grant for a trial would be a couple of million dollars.

“Often there is a very clear area of unmet need, but because there are so many researchers who apply for trials, only some can be funded because they are so very expensive,” said Dr McGurk.

Clinical trials may also be sponsored or funded by a range of organisations, including research groups, foundations, charities, as well as pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies.

To learn more about the funding of clinical trials, head to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/how-does-a-clinical-trial-take-shape-in-australia/8540944