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Clinical Research and Innovation

  • Published 06/08/2013
Clinical trials have had a firm position in the Nordic countries. This has encouraged innovation and has been important for the quality and the improvement of the clinical services offered to patients. Industry-sponsored clinical trials have also been a valuable source for funding of research, and have had a role in developing a well-functioning research infrastructure contributing to the overall research environment at the hospitals.

Clinical trials in the Nordic Region are currently declining and face strong competition. The decline is greatest for industry-sponsored studies that have been reduced by almost 50 per cent since 2005. Also for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) there has been a shift of activity to countries outside the Nordic region. If this trend continues the infrastructure and expertise that are important to research and innovation will suffer and may ultimately disappear.


This study has examined a complex of problems to elucidate the cause for the decline: How is the framework and the environment for performing clinical trials in the Nordic countries? How does the industry and hospitals collaborate? Do the hospitals meet their role as a driving force in the innovation process? Where are the major obstacles and what can be improved to facilitate the process of clinical trials? Are there differences among the various Nordic countries and companies, and what can we possibly learn from each other?


The respondents in the study were invited representatives from Big Pharma and SME’s in all the Nordic Countries, who responded to an electronic questionnaire. In depth-interviews were conducted with a smaller, randomly selected group. This broadened the perspective, and gave the possibility to interpret findings and responses from the digital questionnaire. The end result was a broader basis for understanding the current situation and a number of suggestions for improvement and development of the relationship between the hospitals and the industry, in the interest of clinical trials in the Nordic countries.