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Hill Times – Open Column from Senator Kelvin Ogilvie on Clinical Trials in Canada

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Published: Thursday, 06/04/2015 11:25 am

Canada was once considered a global leader in research and development in the life sciences sector: world-class facilities, the best and brightest scientists and researchers and a diverse population group that could participate in clinical trials. Make no mistake—these great assets have not diminished; but the reality is that Canada is losing its competitive edge to attract clinical trials to this country.

Currently, there is no single, comprehensive source of clinical trial information for Canada: meaning, there is no one location where information can be found about clinical trial sites, research networks, organizations and institutions, research ethics boards or individual clinical trial experts.

Without this data point, it makes it incredibly difficult for those seeking to run a clinical trial to discover exactly what capacity Canada has to offer. As a result, Canada is losing opportunities to be a global leader in drug innovation as well as losing opportunities for our researchers and patients here at home.

The work of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which I chair, highlighted this gap in our 2012 report on Canada’s Clinical Trial Infrastructure: A Prescription for Improved Access to New Medicines.

As a scientist by training, and as someone who has worked directly with clinical trials, I understand how important it is to let the world know that Canada is ready and prepared to take a greater role in advancing scientific research and discoveries through increasing the numbers of clinical trials conducted in Canada.

That is why today, I am proud to announce that progress is being made. Today, on behalf of the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre, the Canadian Clinical Trial Asset Map (CCTAM) has been launched. This brand new database seeks to gather all of Canada’s clinical trial assets together in one location, so that any person interested in finding out more about Canada’s clinical trials capability can find the information needed.

At launch, there are already more than 700 assets listed in the database and this is only the beginning of this project. As the CCTAM evolves and grows, it will be the premier destination for those looking for information on Canada’s clinical trial capabilities.

This is a positive step forward for Canada’s clinical research community and a serious stride in returning to Canada its reputation as a global leader in clinical trials. We must continue this effort to promote Canada’s great capabilities.

Nova Scotia Conservative Senator Kelvin Ogilvie was inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame in Ottawa in November, 2011, and received the Biomedical Science Ambassador Award in May 2012 in Ottawa awarded by Partners in Research. In November 2013 he received the Rx&D Health Research Foundation Medal of Honour for his outstanding contributions to health sciences and public health innovation.
The Hill Times

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