#OTalk Research 3rd March 2020 – What is commercial research and is there a role for occupational therapy?

This #OTalk will be led by Dr Jenny Preston, Consultant Occupational Therapist @preston_jenny

Research studies are generally classified within two main categories:

  1. Commercial
  2. Non-commercial

Commercial research is the term used to describe studies that are sponsored and funded by pharmaceutical companies or biotech industry for commercial purposes.  If the study is sponsored by the NHS or an Academic Institution then it is defined as non-commercial research.  

Clinical trials are essential to the development of beneficial treatments for NHS patients as the consumers of medicine and healthcare.  Clinical trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry play an important part in keeping the NHS at the forefront of modern treatments and research (NHS R&D Forum, 2005).  In addition, commercial research activity offers clinicians early access to the latest technologies for diagnosing and treating disease and is essential for the development of new medicines and healthcare technologies.  

Research active occupational therapists are more likely to engage in non-commercial research studies although there are increasing opportunities for occupational therapists, as part of clinical research teams to become involved in commercial research.  The Government is committed to promoting partnerships between the NHS and other funders of R&D, for the benefit of the health and wealth of the nation. The NHS is encouraged to support commercially sponsored research and views it as an opportunity to: 

  • Participate in drug and device development 
  • Evaluate new equipment 
  • Become involved with the development of improved treatment for current and future NHS patients 
  • Promote partnerships between the NHS and commercial research sponsors
  • Generate income for re-investment back into research, facilities and patient care 
  • Attract and retain staff 

Research-active NHS Trusts that value participation in commercial research as an element of their clinical research portfolio should ensure that their management arrangements can support the necessary work involved in negotiations and trial co-ordination. A Trust must recognise that for the pharmaceutical, device, or equipment industry to consider the Trust a suitable site to participate in commercial clinical trials, it must be able to demonstrate that it can (NHS R&D Forum, 2005) : 

  • Provide the service that the sponsor requires 
  • Provide the service to an appropriate level of quality 
  • Provide the service at the right price 
  • Ensure the sponsor is made aware of the service that is available 

Throughout this chat we will consider the potential opportunities for occupational therapists to become involved in commercial research through discussion of the following questions:

  • Do you have any experience of commercial research?
  • What sorts of tasks were you involved in?
  • How did you get involved in commercial research?
  • What were the benefits and challenges?
  • Are there any ethical concerns or conflicts of interest for occupational therapists?
  • Is there any additional training required to engage in commercial research?


Online Transcript

#OTalk Transcript March 3rd 2020

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