Washington State Research Institutions Have Conducted More Than 3,600 Clinical Trials of New Medicines Since 1999

Research Supported by Biopharmaceutical Companies

 WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2013) –Working in collaboration with university medical schools, science centers, local hospitals and clinical research centers, America’s biopharmaceutical companies have conducted 3,664 clinical trials of new medicines in Washington over the last 13 years, a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) shows. The report – “Research in Your Backyard:  Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Washington” – illustrates how the state’s clinical tests of new medicines have been beneficial to patients, the local economy and the advancement of science. 

More than 2,000 of the clinical trials highlighted in the report targeted the nation’s and Washington’s six most debilitating chronic diseases – asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and mental illnesses.

“For patients, it is important to note that over half of the medications clinically tested in the Evergreen State have targeted the most devastating chronic diseases,” said Jeff Trewhitt, senior director at PhRMA. 

Highlights of the report illustrate the importance of clinical trials for patients:

  • More than 400,000 adults and nearly 120,000 children suffer from asthma in the state.
  • More than 35,000 new Washington cancer cases will be diagnosed this year and 12,170 victims will die of the disease.
  • Heart disease and stroke are the second and sixth leading disease causes of death in the state.  In 2010, more than 10,000 residents died from some form of heart disease and 2,529 succumbed to stroke, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
  • About 219,000 Washington adults and 71,000 children live with serious mental illness. 

Over 370 trials testing a potential medicine for a chronic disease are still active and recruiting Washington patients to participate, offering hope for disease sufferers who seek treatments that are best for them and an opportunity to discuss therapeutic options with their physicians.

Addressing barriers to enrollment in trials is a shared goal of many stakeholders. “I’m proud of the work we did this year to ensure cancer patients participating in clinical trials now have insurance coverage for routine care,” said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Thanks to our efforts, people now have another fighting chance without worrying about their insurance. The Affordable Care Act brings this protection to patients nationwide after next January, but in Washington State, patients are guaranteed this right today.”

Increasing public awareness of local community clinical trials is a goal of the NW Association of Biomedical Research (NWABR) and Gilda’s Club. 

“This study recognizes the critical role of local volunteers whose choice to participate in clinical trials makes it possible for research and medical discovery to move forward,” said Susan Adler, NWABR’s executive director.  “Too many clinical trials are delayed because not enough people realize how much of a difference their involvement can make.”

Anna Gottlieb, executive director of Gilda’s Club Seattle, a community-based support program for cancer survivors, their family and friends, added that “while nearly 20 percent of cancer patients are eligible for participation in cancer clinical trials, enrollment among adults consistently ranges between 3-5 percent.  More must be done to unlock the incredible potential of clinical trials.” 

The new report says clinical trials of medicines have also been beneficial to the local economy in communities all over the state because biopharmaceutical companies collaborate with local research institutions to conduct the tests.  And with trials accounting for 45 to 75 percent of the average $1.2 billion cost of developing a new drug, the tests are a revenue source and give the state’s medical schools, hospitals and clinical research facilities the opportunity to be involved in cutting-edge research. 

The report quotes the 2012 Annual Report of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association in noting that jobs in the state’s biosciences sector – including biopharmaceutical companies – increased 12 percent from 2007-2011, compared to a 2 percent decline in employment for all other industries.  Bioscience industries account for 34,000 direct jobs in the state and support a total of 92,000 Washington jobs.

Institutions from all regions of the state that have been working with biopharmaceutical companies on new drug clinical trials include:

  • University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle.
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle.
  • MultiCare Health System Research Institute, Tacoma.
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital/North Star Lodge, Yakima.
  • Frontier Institute, Spokane.
  • Spokane Cardiology.
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, Wenatchee.
  • Providence Regional Medical Center, Everett.  
  • Swedish Hospital & Medical Center/Cardiovascular Research, Seattle.
  • Northwest Clinical Research Center, Bellevue.
  • Spokane Eye Clinic, Spokane.
  • Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, Walla Walla.
  • Rainier Clinical Research Center, Renton.
  • Mylar Research, Lakewood.
  • Peninsula Cancer Center, Poulsbo.
  • Eastside Therapeutic Resource, Kirkland.
  • Deaconess Medical Center, Spokane.
  • Harborview Medical Center, Seattle.
  • Rockwood Clinic, Spokane.
  • Sound Medical Research, Port Orchard. \

The report appendix offers URL codes for each Washington State trial still recruiting patients. Patients can also find information on www.clinicaltrials.gov, which is the comprehensive trials database of the National Institutes of Health.


About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested over $500 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 alone.http://www.phrma.org/

Find PhRMA Online:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org
For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit http://www.rxresponse.org

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