Clinical trials are essential for evaluating the effectiveness and safety of drugs, devices, services and interventions to help prevent, detect or treat illness and disease. It is through the research done in clinical trials that people gain access to better treatments sooner. Clinical trials also bring hundreds of millions of dollars each year into the Australian economy.
If you would like more information on clinical trials in Australia, including those currently underway, visit the Australian Clinical Trials website.
The Australian Clinical Trials Environment
Australia’s clinical trials environment is complex, with various responsibilities resting with institutions, private organisations and companies, State or Territory Governments and the Commonwealth Government.
Australian Government Clinical Trials Initiatives
NHMRC, the Department of Health and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science are working with States and Territories and other key stakeholders to improve the clinical trials environment in Australia.
- A combined update on all clinical trials initiatives is available on the Australian Clinical Trials website.
NHMRC’s progress to improve clinical trials in Australia
NHMRC is working with States, Territories, clinical trials sites, sponsors and researchers to achieve:
- Timely and more efficient research governance authorisation
- Efficient Ethics Approval
- Increased Site Readiness and Transparency
- Better Trained Staff
- Increased Recruitment and Awareness
These initiatives will ultimately lead to Australia becoming more competitive globally and continuing to deliver clinical trials of high quality.
Key ongoing Activities:
- Pilot studies to test a Good Practice Process for site assessment and authorisation of clinical trial research governance
- Development and testing of a human research ethics application (HREA)
- Promoting consistency in safety monitoring and reporting arrangements for clinical trials
- Looking at options of how to improve single ethical review by HRECs
- Working with a representative committee to assist with the development of key criteria and assessment process for the Clinical Trials Ready initiative, which seeks to promote sites that are ready, willing and able to conduct clinical trials
- Raising awareness of the Australian Clinical Trials website to increase patient recruitment
Further information on NHMRC activities
|DATE OF LAST UPDATE: 1 September 2016|
|Working with states, territories and other stakeholders on a nationally consistent approach to clinical trials|
|Clinical Trials Ready initiative - Update||
NHMRC has developed an initiative to recognise clinical trial sites, including public and private hospitals and other organisations that are ‘ready, willing and able’ to carry out high quality clinical trials in a timely, transparent and efficient manner.
The report from a public consultation on Clinical Trials Ready has now been published on the NHMRC website.
NHMRC has established an advisory group to finalise the criteria and mechanism by which sites will be recognised. The first meeting will be held in September.
|Streamlining Research Governance - Update||
NHMRC has developed a ‘Good Practice Process’ for the site assessment and site authorisation phases of clinical trials research governance Following piloting of the Process at 16 sites throughout Australia, on average, more than 100 days was able to be removed from the time taken for clinical trial commencement.
NHMRC has analysed the information obtained from pilot sites and will be releasing a report The Good Practice Process is available on the NHMRC website, and a report of the pilots will be made available shortly.
|Human Research Ethics Application - Update||
NHMRC in conjunction with a Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) advisory group is developing a common human research ethics application (HREA).
NHMRC has concluded beta testing of the application. NHMRC is now analysing feedback and will make changes to the HREA as appropriate. It is anticipated that general release of the HREA will occur in October 2016.
|Safety Monitoring and reporting||
NHMRC has revised the AHEC Monitoring and reporting of safety for clinical trials involving therapeutic products (Position Statement).
The Position Statement has now been endorsed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and AHEC. It will now be provided for Council for their agreement to advise the CEO to release this guidance.
|Streamlining Ethics Review - Update||
1. NHMRC is establishing independent, national scientific committees to provide advice to researchers and HRECs on medical device trials and complex genetic research.
2. NHMRC is conducting a review of the National Certification Scheme for institutional ethical review processes of multi-centre human research (the National Certification Scheme)
3. Through engagement of a consultant, NHMRC will develop a tool for HRECs to identify relevant laws that relate to consent a guardianship requirements.
1. NHMRC has engaged Bellberry Limited to provide secretariat services for two independent national scientific committees with expertise in: complex genetic research; and clinical trials involving medical devices.
2. NHMRC is reviewing feedback from a consultation to determine ways in which the National Certification Scheme can continue to meet community needs and expectations.
3. NHMRC has now finalised a draft report on relevant State, Territory and National laws. These have been provided to State and Territory Health Departments for their consideration prior to publishing.
|Training and education for clinical researchers and support staff in industry and academia|
|Support for clinical trials networks||
NHMRC have conducted a number of activities to support clinical trials networks to improve national co-ordination and communication within and across networks. These include:
||The International Symposium was held in Sydney from 7 – 10 October 2015.|
||The report from this workhas now been published and is available on the NHMRC website.|
|Development of competencies for academic clinical trialists||
NHMRC held a workshop to commence the development of a set of draft competencies for academic clinical trialists.
|NHMRC is finalising the draft competencies.|
|Clinical Trials Portal|
|Improve functionality of clinical trials website - Update||NHMRC is currently adding stories from participants and researchers on their clinical trial experiences, and determining the need for a mobile Application to support the website.||
Ten participant and researcher 'real stories have been published as videos on AustralianClinicalTrials.gov.au
NHMRC is now conducting a consultation on the feasibility of an App.
|Development of national interactive portal||The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DoIIS), with input from NHMRC, is working to expand the functionality of the website to ultimately develop an interactive portal to streamline the administrative process and further boost participant recruitment.||
DoIIS and NHMRC have enhanced the website to enable users to subscribe and receive alerts when new trials are registered.
|Engagement with Stakeholders|
NHMRC provides updates to the Clinical Trials Advisory Committee (CTAC)(link is external) on the progress of work under the initiative.
NHMRC provides updates to the States and Territories through a variety of forums, including:
Through the Commonwealth, to:
In addition, regular coordination meetings occur with the Department of Industry and Science and Department on Health on progress delivering clinical trials reform.