COVID-19 and the Emerging Regulatory Guidance for Ongoing Clinical Trials in the European Union
Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Mar 5. doi: 10.1002/cpt.2225. Online ahead of print.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying control measures have significantly affected clinical trial (CT) conduct and sponsors have needed to make rapid changes to their CT operations. As a result, regulatory guidance was pivotal during the initial phases of the pandemic. This study aimed to evaluate the regulatory readiness and guidance related to COVID-19 in the European Union (EU). The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and national competent authorities’ (NCAs) websites were searched in September and October 2020 for guidances on the management of CTs during the pandemic published from January 2020 onward. “Regulatory readiness” was defined as the number of days from the first European COVID-19 case (January 24, 2020) to the first published guidance by the respective NCA. “Regulatory guidance” was evaluated by coding the guidances for the following predefined operational trial activities important for ongoing CTs: obtaining informed consent, participant information, clinic visits, home health visits, telemedicine visits, self-monitoring, investigational medicinal product (IMP) supply, IMP adherence monitoring, CT monitoring, documentation management, regulatory management, and safety management. Twenty-four of the 27 EU NCAs published country-specific guidance. The time from the first European COVID-19 case to the first published EMA guidance was 56 days and ranged from 47 to 66 days for the first national guidances. Guidance was provided most frequently for regulatory management (24/24), safety management (23/24), documentation management (22/24), and CT monitoring (22/24). The regulatory guidance provided during the pandemic, ensuring participant safety and data integrity, may now be the starting point to innovate future CT conduct.
PMID:33666223 | DOI:10.1002/cpt.2225
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