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Determining the best way to redact sensitive material prior to disclosure

Friday, May 15, 2015

Transparency and disclosure of clinical trial information has been growing in importance. Providing previously confidential clinical study results for public consumption is a key step toward increasing trust between the public and the industry and encouraging information sharing that could lead to new products or therapeutic approaches.

But data sharing carries risk, especially with regard to personally identifiable information (PII), patient protected data (PPD), and company confidential information (CCI) that is referenced throughout regulatory submittal packages.

Under Policy 70, which became effective Jan. 1, 2015, the European Medicines Agency is making all clinical study reports (CSRs) that support an approved marketing authorization publicly available. This presents a significant risk for companies who must accurately identify and redact the myriad references to PII, PPD and CCI in these documents.

So what are a company’s options? 

    • CSRs can be 5,000-30,000 pages long with 600 words per page. With up to 25 CSRs per company per year being released, relying on a manual approach to review 75-150 million words is clearly not an effective option. Not only is there a high risk of accidental disclosure, but the process is not scalable, can be very time consuming, is costly and results in performance variability. 
    • Simple search and replace pattern-matching technologies are no help either. They offer little beyond the manual approach, since they are completely dependent on humans to determine the search parameters.
    • New technologies can leverage proven concepts, including natural language recognition and processing to contextualize words, parts of speech, word combinations and phrasing combinations, thereby automating the identification and subsequent redaction of sensitive information. 

Sponsors must now identify solutions and processes to enable them to comply with Policy 70 and additional regulations under development. In light of today’s technology advances, it is unnecessary to burden highly qualified regulatory teams with manual processes for managing redaction.


Written by Guest Writer Keith M. Kleeman. Kleeman is president of Synchrogenix, Certara’s regulatory and medical writing consultancy, and leads the company’s transparency and disclosure services. Previously, he was founder and CEO of ClinGenuity, the only artificial intelligence-assisted medical writing service in the pharmaceutical industry. Synchrogenix purchased ClinGenuity in January 2015. www.synchrogenix.com

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 05, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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