A national team of expert clinicians and health researchers in New Zealand are leading a new study to make more people in the country participate in clinical trials.

The team will explore ways to increase the number of participants in clinical trials, particularly those living in rural communities and Māori and Pasifika.

Funded by joint Ministry of Health and Health Research Council (HRC), the study is co-led by University of Auckland professors Frank Bloomfield, Stuart Dalziel and associate professor Matire Harwood (Ngāpuhi), along with the University of Otago professors Lisa Stamp and Katrina Sharples.

Evidence-based recommendations will be provided as part of the study on the way New Zealanders and the country’s health system can better receive clinical trial benefits.

Bloomfield said: “This disparity is compounding existing health inequities given the clear evidence that participation in clinical trials improves health outcomes, irrespective of what intervention participants are randomised to receive.”

Bloomfield further added that participation in clinical trials across Aotearoa New Zealand is inequitable for patients outside of major urban areas and by ethnicity, despite these benefits.

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By GlobalData

Clinical trials, which play a key role in answering questions related to managing a particular disease with trials of new drugs or vaccines, can also investigate whether and how to introduce new technologies into general use.

Furthermore, the relative effectiveness of commonly used treatments can be compared in the trials.

HRC chief executive professor Sunny Collings said that the study results will help inform what a new operating model for clinical trials in New Zealand could look like.

“This study will also provide recommendations on workforce capability, clinical trial networks, moving evidence rapidly into clinical practice, and optimising data management within the clinical trials system.”