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Klinische Forschung


März 2017

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Current practice and perspectives in CRO oversight based on a survey performed among members of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa)

Aktuelle Praxis und Perspektiven beim CRO Oversight – Umfrage unter den Mitgliedern des Verbandes Forschender Arzneimittelhersteller (vfa)

von Dr. Michel Hennig, Dr. Ferdinand Hundt, Susanne Busta, Stefan Mikus, Per-Holger Sanden, Dr. Andrea Sörgel und Dr. Thorsten Ruppert
zuerst veröffentlicht unter GMS German Medical Science - an Interdisciplinary Journal, GMS Ger Med Sci 2017;15:Doc02 (20170126)

In recent years, the number and scope of outsourced activities in the pharmaceutical industry have increased heavily. In addition, also the type of outsourcing has changed significantly in that time.

This raises the question of whether and how sponsors retain the capability to select and to control the contract research organizations (CROs) involved and what expertise still has to be present in the development department as well as other relevant departments to ensure adequate oversight, also in line with the expectations of regulators and health authorities. In order to answer these questions, a survey was conducted among the German vfa member companies. The survey describes the latest developments and experiences in outsourcing by 18 German vfa member companies. It concentrates on measures how to implement Quality Assurance (QA) when performing outsourced clinical studies. This study shows that the majority of companies apply a full-outsourcing, preferred-provider model of clinical trial services, with the clinical research department playing the major role in this process. A large amount of guiding documents, processes and tools are used to ensure an adequate oversight of the services performed by the CRO(s).

Finally the guiding principles for all oversight processes should be transparent communication, a clearly established expectation for quality, a precise definition of accountability and responsibility while avoiding silo mentality, and a comprehensive documentation of the oversight’s evidence. For globally acting and outsourcing sponsors, oversight processes need to be aligned with regards to local and global perspectives.

This survey shows that the current implementation of oversight processes in the participating companies covers all relevant areas to ensure highest quality and integrity of the data produced by the outsourced clinical trial.

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