About the ABPI

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.

Table: Number of commercial clinical trials started in 2017, global

Rank

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

1 USA 614 USA 970 USA 528
2 China 164 UK 253 Germany 276
3 UK 147 Germany 232 Canada 259
4 Germany 136 Japan 227 Spain 258
5 Japan 111 Spain 204 UK 243
6 Australia 82 France 176 Poland 243
7 Canada 72 Canada 176 Italy 235
8 France 52 Italy 141 Japan 235
9 Spain 49 China 122 France 210
10 Italy 19 Australia 112 Australia 180
11 Poland 15 Poland 98 China 146
12 Switzerland 14 Switzerland 30 Brazil 116
13 Brazil 10 Brazil 23 South Africa 72
14 South Africa 5 South Africa 17 Switzerland 65

Table: Number of commercial clinical trials started in 2017, Europe

Rank

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

1 UK 147 UK 253 Germany 276
2 Germany 136 Germany 232 Spain 258
3 France 52 Spain 204 UK 243

*What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials test potential new medicines in people and are divided into different stages, called phases.

  • Phase I trials involve a small number of patients and test how much of the drug is safe and if there are any side effects.
  • Phase II trials are larger and find out how well the treatment works, the best dose to use and how to manage any side effects.
  • Phase III trials are even bigger, involving patients in different hospitals and sometimes different countries. They compare the new medicine with the best currently available treatment to find out which works best, more about side effects and how quality of life is affected.

Increasingly the lines between the different phases are becoming blurred as we understand how to make it easier and faster to test whether a medicine works and is safe.

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