Monday, June 21, 2010

International Clinical Trial Site Inspections by FDA

A question often asked by pharmaceutical sponsors pertains to criteria for assigning inspections at foreign clinical trial sites - what triggers an onsite inspection by FDA CDER? International clinical trial sites will be audited if there is insufficient domestic data supporting a US clinical submission and non-US data becomes primary data and not supplemental or supportive for a drug marketing approval. Inspections are announced by FDA CDER when foreign clinical trial data is submitted for a US marketing application and inconsistencies in domestic and international clinical trial data and documentation are discovered on review. Inconsistencies between domestic and international data will trigger serious issues pertaining to unreported, under-reporting of AEs, data validity, data integrity and quality.

When conflicting data is identified by FDA CDER and when those results are pertinent to decision-making actions impacting resolve, FDA will arrive onsite, announced or unannounced. Refusal to file will be one action taken by FDA, other investigative actions involving suspicion of fraud, clinical, financial or otherwise, scientific misconduct, significant human subject protection violation - penalties, fees, loss of license, imprisonment, other enforcements will be swift and rigorous.


  • There is a rise is the number of foreign clinical investigators and clinical trial sites inspected in the last 6 years, with 2010 inspections already exceeding those published in 2009
  • Clinical inspections by FDA CDER are highest in Europe, South/Central America and Africa, with Asia and the Pacific Rim second, while Eastern Europe was last.

In the last 2 years, non-US clinical site inspections by country:

  • Canada 117
  • U.K. 92
  • Germany 54
  • France 54
  • Russia 36
  • Italy 35
  • Sweden 31
  • South Africa 30
  • Belgium 26
  • Poland 22
  • Netherlands 21
  • Spain 16
  • Argentina 16
  • Finland 15
  • Denmark 14
  • Czechoslovakia 13
  • Australia 11
  • Brazil 11
  • ROW country by country less than 10. provides lists of clinical investigators who have been disqualified, restricted or provided assurances.

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