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India’s CDSCO Releases New Clinical Trial Guidelines

Posted 10 July 2014 | By Louise Zornoza

India’s CDSCO Releases New Clinical Trial Guidelines

India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has released a slew of orders making a wide range of changes to the agency’s policies governing clinical trials. 

New policies stated in the documents include:

  • Sponsors, investigators, the regulator and Ethics Committees are responsible for ensuring that the design of placebo-controlled trials is appropriate, efficient and ethical;
  • Investigators are limited to working on a maximum of three trials simultaneously;
  • If a new chemical entity is approved in the innovator or “well-regulated” country for a disease prevalent in India, and the clinical trial included Indian participants, CDSCO advises that “approval should be sought from CDSCO” and “these NCEs should be marketed in India speedily.” CDSCO also specifies that if a foreign trial included Indian participants, the number would have to be “adequate” for considering approval of the drug in India;
  • Waiver of clinical trials in Indian populations with drugs already approved outside India will only be considered in cases of national emergency, extreme urgency and epidemic, and for orphan drugs for rare diseases and drugs for conditions/diseases for which there is no therapy;
  • Generics and biosimilars marketing “in other countries like USA” for over four years and have a “satisfactory report” can be approved in India after abbreviated trials;
  • Consideration of new drug applications will take into account ethnic differences in metabolism etc.;
  • If two or more countries remove a drug from their market on the grounds of safety and efficacy, the continued marketing of the drug in India “will be considered for examination and appropriate action” by CDSCO; and
  • Manufacturers, sponsors and CROs are advised to provide compensation for any drug-related anomaly detected at a later stage.

CDSCO is also re-organizing the structure of the committees involved in the drug approval process.  The New Drug Advisory Committees will now become the Subject Expert Committees, whose recommendations will be reviewed by a newly formed Technical Review Committee (TRC).  The TRC will be under the direction of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), which will draw the membership of the committee from experts in such areas as clinical pharmacology, clinical toxicology/ pathology, and scientists involved in drug development. 

The changes implement the recommendations of the Expert Committee chaired by Prof. Chaudhury, which was tasked with formulating policy and guidelines for the approval of new drugs, clinical trials, and the banning of drugs.


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