Improving clinical trials for cardiovascular diseases: a position paper from the Cardiovascular Round Table of the European Society of Cardiology

Eur Heart J. 2016 Mar 1;37(9):747-54. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv213. Epub 2015 Jun 15.


Aims: Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of mortality and morbidity in the world, but the pharmaceutical industry's willingness to invest in this field has declined because of the many challenges involved with bringing new cardiovascular drugs to market, including late-stage failures, escalating regulatory requirements, bureaucracy of the clinical trial business enterprise, and limited patient access after approval. This contrasts with the remaining burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe and in the world. Thus, clinical cardiovascular research needs to adapt to address the impact of these challenges in order to ensure development of new cardiovascular medicines.

Methods and results: The present paper is the outcome of a two-day workshop held by the Cardiovascular Round Table of the European Society of Cardiology. We propose strategies to improve development of effective new cardiovascular therapies. These can include (i) the use of biomarkers to describe patients who will benefit from new therapies more precisely, achieving better human target validation; (ii) targeted, mechanism-based approaches to drug development for defined populations; (iii) the use of information technology to simplify data collection and follow-up in clinical trials; (iv) streamlining adverse event collection and reducing monitoring; (v) extended patent protection or limited rapid approval of new agents to motivate investment in early phase development; and (vi) collecting data needed for health technology assessment continuously throughout the drug development process (before and after approval) to minimize delays in patient access. Collaboration across industry, academia, regulators, and payers will be necessary to enact change and to unlock the existing potential for cardiovascular clinical drug development.

Conclusions: A coordinated effort involving academia, regulators, industry, and payors will help to foster better and more effective conduct of clinical cardiovascular trials, supporting earlier availability of innovative therapies and better management of cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Cardiovascular; Cardiovascular disease burden; Clinical trials; Drug development; Health technology assessment; New therapies; Personalized medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / economics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / economics
  • Data Collection
  • Drug Approval / economics
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Drug Discovery / economics
  • Drug Industry / economics
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Precision Medicine / economics
  • Societies, Medical
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / economics
  • Therapies, Investigational / economics