It’s often assumed that clinical decision-making is supported by high quality evidence derived from clinical trials. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many clinical decisions in medicine are based on either low-quality evidence or no relevant evidence.
Some of the best publicly funded, Australian clinical research has found that when comparing therapies that were in widespread use, the treatment being tested were either ineffective, as effective but more expensive, or sometimes even harmful.
Clinical trials networks (CTNs), led by senior clinicians working within the Australian health system, are particularly effective at conducting high-impact, public-good clinical trials.
These networks bring together hundreds of doctors, nurses, allied health and research professionals working in acute or primary care settings to design and conduct trials that provide definitive evidence about which treatments work, which don’t, and which are most cost-effective in the context of clinical practice.
CTN collaborations generate world-class expertise in trial design and conduct, research efficiencies, and ensure that benefits of clinical research are distributed widely across the health system.
Complex and inefficient regulatory processes for clinical research are impeding the conduct of investigator-initiated clinical trials and resulting in unacceptable delays between the funding of important public-good research and the delivery of results to the Australian community. Greater engagement and partnership between policymakers and clinician researchers could significantly improve the process of generating high-quality evidence for new and existing clinical therapies and services at low marginal cost or with cost-savings.
Until ACTA, there was no single, coordinated mechanism to connect clinical researchers with governments, health care policymakers and consumers on issues that impact the conduct of investigator-led clinical trials across the Australian health system.