Drug development & clinical research stakeholders hold meeting

Interactive meet on New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019 by CDSA, THSTI and CDSCO was held recently in the presence of all stakeholders of drug development and clinical research in India


New Delhi: The New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019 was released on 19th March this year by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. This regulation is a turning point for drug innovation and promoting ethical clinical research in India.

In this backdrop, there has been a demand from all over the country seeking clarifications on various issues. Realizing this, the Clinical Development Services Agency (CDSA), Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Department of Biotechnology organized a half day ‘Interactive meet on New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019: Its understanding and impact ‘ on 17th May at NCR Biotech Science Cluster in collaboration with CDSCO.

Over 535 participants from more than 180 institutions participated in this interactive meet. The interactive session was live streamed and was viewed by institutions in India and abroad.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr S. Eswara Reddy, DCG(I), CDSCO. Prof. Y. K. Gupta, Principal Adviser (Projects), THSTI, DBT delivered the talk, highlighting the changes and rationale behind. The panel discussion was addressed by Prof. Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director, THSTI, Prof. Shinjini Bhatnagar, Dean, Clinical Research, THSTI, Prof. Usha Menon, Strategy Lead, CDSA, THSTI, Prof. Y. K. Gupta and Mr A. K. Pradhan DDC(I), CDSCO.

Following regulatory changes were highlighted:

  1. For the first time, orphan drug has been defined as a drug intended to treat a condition which affects less than five lakh persons in India. Clinical trial fee for such drugs have been waived off with a provision of fast track approval.

  2. To promote drug development and research in India, the timelines of approval process has been defined as 30 days. If no objection/query is raised by the CDSCO (regulators), then the application will be deemed as ‘approved’.

  3. Provision of post trial access was made for patients for whom, the new drug has been found to be effective and there is no alternative. This will be provided free of cost by the sponsor.

  4. It is now clarified that any type of study involving human which is not a drug trial under regulation will be governed by the National ethical guidelines for biomedical and health research involving human participants by ICMR. Compensation of any study related serious adverse events will be decided by the Ethics Committee.

  5. It is now mandatory that all Ethics Committees must be registered with CDSCO before they can approve any regulatory clinical trial. However, accreditation by NABH, QCI is not mandatory although recommended. For granting approval of non-regulatory trials, there should be Ethics Committee which needs to be registered with DHR, Ministry of Health. This will be effective in September, 2019.

Several queries by the attendees were responded succinctly by the regulator and panelists. CDSA, THSTI announced starting of an interactive discussion forum on clinical research related issues in the national interest. Future interactive sessions will be announced in the websites. To facilitate drug research and development in India, CDSA has taken several initiatives such as nationwide training in GLP sensitisation (sponsored by DST); preparing draft revision of GCP, national GCP training (sponsored by CDSA); national workshop on regulatory compliance for accelerating innovations (sponsored by DBT-BIRAC); drafting guidelines for Subject Expert Committee, CDSCO; guidelines for Fixed-Dose Combination. CDSA has developed online courses with NPTEL/SWAYAM on regulations (clinical trials, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics) with the courses reviewed, approved and delivered by CDSCO. In the first launch of this online course, over 1700 candidates had taken up this course with more than 320 candidates qualifying the post-course assessment.

Recording of this session and several such activities/courses can be accessed here.

It is of utmost importance that all stakeholders (pharmaceutical industry, national scientific laboratories, contract research organizations, scientists and academicians, innovators and start-ups) including international partners are fully aware of the transformed regulatory landscape in India.