FDA issues rule on safety reporting
The FDA has issued a final rule that clarifies what safety information must be reported during clinical trials of investigational drugs and biologics. “These changes will better protect people who are enrolled in clinical trials,” said Rachel Behrman, M.D., associate director for medical policy in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The new rule requires certain safety information be reported to FDA within 15 days of becoming aware of an occurrence, including: findings from clinical or epidemiological studies that suggest a significant risk to study participants; serious suspected adverse reactions occurring at a rate higher than expected; serious adverse events from bioavailability studies that determine what percentage and at what rate a drug is absorbed by the bloodstream, and bioequivalence studies that determine whether a generic drug has the same bioavailability as the brand name drug. The rule also provides examples of evidence suggesting an investigational product may be the cause of a safety problem. Currently, sponsors often report all serious adverse events, even if there is little reason to believe the product caused the event. This complicates and delays the FDA’s ability to detect a safety signal. The examples address when a single event should be reported and when to wait for more than one occurrence.