OBJECTIVE:To identify main characteristics of clinical trials (CT) authorized by the National Institute of Health (INS) of Peru from 1995 to August 2012. MATERIAL AND METHODS:Cross-sectional study, which reviewed all records of CT submitted for review and possible approval by INS, whose data are part of the Peruvian Registry of Clinical Trials. We performed a descriptive analysis of the states of the CT approval and other characteristics. RESULTS:1475 clinical trials were assessed, of which 1255 (85.1%) were authorized. From 1 clinical trial officially registered in 1995, its quantity increased to 176 trials submitted in 2008, and then, declined to 128 in 2011. Among the approved CT, 64.1% was in Phase III. Oncology (22.4%), infectious diseases (15.5%) and endocrinology (12.7%) were the most studied specialties and a only 1.2% were for neglected tropical diseases. The oral hypoglycemic drugs, systemic antiviral and antineoplastic agents were the most studied investigational products. The transnational pharmaceutical industry was the main sponsor (87.1%) and executors (62.3%) of clinical trials were mostly in Lima. CONCLUSIONS:Clinical trials in Peru mainly focus on noncommunicable diseases and phase III studies. The pharmaceutical industry is the main sponsor. A very small number of authorized clinical trials in Peru were for neglected tropical diseases that shows little attention to the health problems in vulnerable populations.