The number of clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has declined since 2005, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. During the same period, average trial sizes were observed to be smaller with only 10 percent of trials enrolling more than 500 participants.
Clinical trials, which are research studies involving human participants, are part of NIH’s core mission. NIH-funded clinical trials can test promising treatments that may not have commercial potential and are also considered to be impartial. NIH-funded clinical trials have laid the groundwork for many lifesaving treatments, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers people might take for a headache.
The findings, published in the February 2018 issue of the journal Clinical Trials, suggest that NIH, due largely to declines in its budget in real terms, has been steadily losing its capability to support clinical trials research and conduct.