The Belgium federal government has announced the slashing of clinical trial wait times given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic evidencing the need for the population to access experimental vaccines and therapies. Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes office distributed a press release on Saturday with the news. The Belgium government recognizes the need for transformative actions for dealing with today’s crisis as well as planning for improved responses in the future.
The Brussels Times reported the move to accelerate and expedite clinical trials, evidencing the dire situation. The move came after a meeting with pharma industry and government. The Office of the Prime Minister declared “Clinical Trials on vaccines and new drugs can now be launched four days after the request is made to the Federal Agency for Medicinal Drugs and Health Products (AFMPS), whereas the current wait period is two weeks to a month.
Belgium Pharmaceutical Industry Association
Pharma.be’s CEO Catherine Rutten welcomed the decision noting that “the policy followed in the past few years in which major efforts have been made to promote Belgium as a high place of clinical pharmaceutical research.” Now it isn’t so much about pharma promotion as it is life and death given the global pandemic.
A New Unit in the Central Government
The Belgium government also confirmed an intention to establish a unit in the central government to fight against infectious diseases unique to Europe. This unit is all about accelerating the ability to conduct Phase I clinical trials and hence speeding up research targeting COVID-19. The unit will be funded to the tune of 40 million euros via a public-private partnership model, reports Oscar Schneider with the Brussels Times.