Trials for people from outside the UK

This page is about access to UK clinical trials if you are from overseas. There is information about

International trials

We have a database of UK clinical trials, but some of the trials listed are international. If a suitable trial is taking place in your country, it is best to try and join it there.
Some trials take place in many countries because they can recruit the patients more quickly that way. This is particularly important for rare cancers.
You could try looking at overseas trials information databases. These include:
The information on these sites is often written in a medical way, but they tell you which trials are running. You would need to speak to your own doctor if you find a trial that you think may be suitable for you.

Joining UK trials

It is sometimes possible for patients from other countries to take part in clinical trials in the UK, but it can be very difficult.
People on cancer trials in the UK are nearly always having treatment funded by our National Health Service (NHS). Generally, you can only be treated on the NHS if you are a classed as an ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK.
This means you are lawfully living and settled in the UK. You don’t necessarily need to be paying tax or National Insurance (NI) or have an NHS number. Exactly what you are entitled to varies depending on the country you have come from. There is more information about how to access NHS care on the NHS website.
If you are not a UK resident you would need private health insurance or your own funding. Insurance companies are often not prepared to pay for treatments that are still being tested in trials.
You may find it useful to read our information about coming to the UK for treatment.

Private treatment

People can pay for private treatment, but this is usually very expensive. The drugs used in clinical trials are often supplied free, but other costs need to be met by the hospital taking part in the trial. This includes the costs of:
  • any tests you need to have during the trial
  • equipment used to give the treatment
  • a hospital stay if you have treatment as an inpatient 

Extra costs

Bear in mind that the cost you are given to take part in a trial is only an estimate. There could be added costs for any treatment you may need to help with side effects from the trial treatment.
People taking part in clinical trials need close monitoring by the trial doctors. So you may have to stay in the UK for some time.
Unless you have friends or relatives you can stay with, you would need to pay for accommodation. The accommodation would ideally be near the hospital where the clinical trial is going on. It can be extremely expensive as you may need to stay in the country for a few weeks or even months.

Qualifying to join a trial

Joining a clinical trial may not be a suitable option if your health is very poor. But if you feel strongly that a trial listed on our database is suitable for you, we suggest you talk to your own doctors. If they agree, they can contact the trial doctor in the UK and discuss the possibility of you joining the trial.
The decision about whether you can join a trial depends on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your age and your general health. Your specialist may decide that another treatment option is more suitable for you.

Related information


Last reviewed

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Find a trial

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