According to the World Health Organization, “Pharmacovigilance (PV) is defined as the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem.” The aims of PV are to enhance patient care and patient safety in relation to the use of medicines; and to support public health programmes by providing reliable, balanced information for the effective assessment of the risk-benefit profile of medicines. Also see WHO’s complete glossary of PV terms.
- Suspected adverse reaction means any adverse event for which there is a reasonable possibility that the drug caused the adverse event. For the purposes of IND safety reporting, “reasonable possibility” means there is evidence to suggest a causal relationship between the drug and the adverse event. Suspected adverse reaction implies a lesser degree of certainty about causality than adverse reaction, which means any adverse event caused by a drug.
- An adverse event or suspected adverse reaction is considered “unexpected” if it is not listed in the investigator brochure or is not listed at the specificity or severity that has been observed; or, if an investigator brochure is not required or available, is not consistent with the risk information described in the general investigational plan or elsewhere in the current application, as amended. “Unexpected,” as used in this definition, also refers to adverse events or suspected adverse reactions that are mentioned in the investigator brochure as occurring with a class of drugs or as anticipated from the pharmacological properties of the drug, but are not specifically mentioned as occurring with the particular drug under investigation.
Review of safety information [21CFR Part 312.32(b)]. “The sponsor must promptly review all information relevant to the safety of the drug obtained or otherwise received by the sponsor from foreign or domestic sources, including information derived from any clinical or epidemiological investigations, animal or in vitro studies, reports in the scientific literature, and unpublished scientific papers, as well as reports from foreign regulatory authorities and reports of foreign commercial marketing experience for drugs that are not marketed in the United States.”
IND safety reports [21CFR Part 312.32(c)(1)]. The sponsor must notify FDA and all participating investigators (i.e., all investigators to whom the sponsor is providing drug under its INDs or under any investigator’s IND) in an IND safety report of potential serious risks, from clinical trials or any other source, as soon as possible, but in no case later than 15 calendar days after the sponsor determines that the information qualifies for reporting under paragraph (c)(1)(i), (c)(1)(ii), (c)(1)(iii), or (c)(1)(iv) of this section. In each IND safety report, the sponsor must identify all IND safety reports previously submitted to FDA concerning a similar suspected adverse reaction, and must analyze the significance of the suspected adverse reaction in light of previous, similar reports or any other relevant information.”
(i) Serious and unexpected suspected adverse reaction. The sponsor must report any suspected adverse reaction that is both serious and unexpected. The sponsor must report an adverse event as a suspected adverse reaction only if there is evidence to suggest a causal relationship between the drug and the adverse event, such as:
(A) A single occurrence of an event that is uncommon and known to be strongly associated with drug exposure (e.g., angioedema, hepatic injury, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome);
(B) One or more occurrences of an event that is not commonly associated with drug exposure, but is otherwise uncommon in the population exposed to the drug (e.g., tendon rupture);
(C) An aggregate analysis of specific events observed in a clinical trial (such as known consequences of the underlying disease or condition under investigation or other events that commonly occur in the study population independent of drug therapy) that indicates those events occur more frequently in the drug treatment group than in a concurrent or historical control group.
(ii) Findings from other studies. The sponsor must report any findings from epidemiological studies, pooled analysis of multiple studies, or clinical studies (other than those reported under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section), whether or not conducted under an IND, and whether or not conducted by the sponsor, that suggest a significant risk in humans exposed to the drug. Ordinarily, such a finding would result in a safety-related change in the protocol, informed consent, investigator brochure (excluding routine updates of these documents), or other aspects of the overall conduct of the clinical investigation.
(iii) Findings from animal or in vitro testing. The sponsor must report any findings from animal or in vitro testing, whether or not conducted by the sponsor, that suggest a significant risk in humans exposed to the drug, such as reports of mutagenicity, teratogenicity, or carcinogenicity, or reports of significant organ toxicity at or near the expected human exposure. Ordinarily, any such findings would result in a safety-related change in the protocol, informed consent, investigator brochure (excluding routine updates of these documents), or other aspects of the overall conduct of the clinical investigation.
(iv) Increased rate of occurrence of serious suspected adverse reactions. The sponsor must report any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure.
(v) Submission of IND safety reports. The sponsor must submit each IND safety report in a narrative format or on FDA Form 3500A or in an electronic format that FDA can process, review, and archive. FDA will periodically issue guidance on how to provide the electronic submission (e.g., method of transmission, media, file formats, preparation and organization of files). The sponsor may submit foreign suspected adverse reactions on a Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) I Form instead of a FDA Form 3500A. Reports of overall findings or pooled analyses from published and unpublished in vitro, animal, epidemiological, or clinical studies must be submitted in a narrative format. Each notification to FDA must bear prominent identification of its contents, i.e., “IND Safety Report,” and must be transmitted to the review division in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research or in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research that has responsibility for review of the IND. Upon request from FDA, the sponsor must submit to FDA any additional data or information that the agency deems necessary, as soon as possible, but in no case later than 15 calendar days after receiving the request.
(2) Unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction reports. The sponsor must also notify FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction as soon as possible but in no case later than 7 calendar days after the sponsor’s initial receipt of the information.
(3) Reporting format or frequency . FDA may require a sponsor to submit IND safety reports in a format or at a frequency different than that required under this paragraph. The sponsor may also propose and adopt a different reporting format or frequency if the change is agreed to in advance by the director of the FDA review division that has responsibility for review of the IND.
(4) Investigations of marketed drugs. A sponsor of a clinical study of a drug marketed or approved in the United States that is conducted under an IND is required to submit IND safety reports for suspected adverse reactions that are observed in the clinical study, at domestic or foreign study sites. The sponsor must also submit safety information from the clinical study as prescribed by the postmarketing safety reporting requirements (e.g., §§ 310.305, 314.80, and 600.80 of this chapter).
(5) Reporting study endpoints. Study endpoints (e.g., mortality or major morbidity) must be reported to FDA by the sponsor as described in the protocol and ordinarily would not be reported under paragraph (c) of this section. However, if a serious and unexpected adverse event occurs for which there is evidence suggesting a causal relationship between the drug and the event (e.g., death from anaphylaxis), the event must be reported under § 312.32(c)(1)(i) as a serious and unexpected suspected adverse reaction even if it is a component of the study endpoint (e.g., all-cause mortality).
(1) The sponsor must promptly investigate all safety information it receives.
(2) Relevant followup information to an IND safety report must be submitted as soon as the information is available and must be identified as such, i.e., “Followup IND Safety Report.”
(3) If the results of a sponsor’s investigation show that an adverse event not initially determined to be reportable under paragraph (c) of this section is so reportable, the sponsor must report such suspected adverse reaction in an IND safety report as soon as possible, but in no case later than 15 calendar days after the determination is made.
(e) Disclaimer. A safety report or other information submitted by a sponsor under this part (and any release by FDA of that report or information) does not necessarily reflect a conclusion by the sponsor or FDA that the report or information constitutes an admission that the drug caused or contributed to an adverse event. A sponsor need not admit, and may deny, that the report or information submitted by the sponsor constitutes an admission that the drug caused or contributed to an adverse event.