Public Release of Clinical Information: consultation
We are working to make clinical information about the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices available to the public. Information that Health Canada currently treats as confidential would be made publicly available following a final regulatory decision.
Clinical information is data about the safety and efficacy of drugs or medical devices used in humans. Companies that make drugs or medical devices send this information to Health Canada to help it review products for sale in Canada.
Clinical information is submitted in clinical study reports. These reports include information on the design and results of clinical trials. A submission for a single product can include tens of thousands of pages of clinical information, including individual patient data.
Public access to clinical information will allow independent analysis that increases our understanding of the safety and efficacy of health products. This can improve patient care in Canada by:
- helping patients and healthcare providers make better decisions about using drugs or medical devices
- reducing research participant exposure to harm during duplicative studies
- using analysis of existing data to advance new research
We have consulted with:
- health researchers
- health professionals
- patient groups
- pharmaceutical industries
- medical device industries
Health Canada invited stakeholder's comments on how it carries out this proposal, including the:
- regulatory approach
- scope of clinical information that would be publicly available following a final regulatory decision
- clinical information that has ongoing commercial value and could be withheld from public release.
Public consultation on draft guidance
On December 9, 2017, Health Canada published proposed draft regulations in Canada Gazette l to support the public release of clinical information in drug submissions and medical device applications. Feedback received during the public comment period, which ended February 22, 2018, was considered in preparing the revised regulations.
On April 10, 2018, Health Canada published its draft guidance for the implementation of the public release of clinical information to assist stakeholders in understanding how Health Canada intends to operationalize the regulations.
The draft guidance was open for public comments for a 75-day period, which closed June 25, 2018. For further information or access to documents, check our stakeholder engagement information page.
Technical consultations on clinical information release
The draft guidance was informed by stakeholder consultations, focused on technical issues pertaining to operationalization of the public release of clinical information. Through responses to our public call letter we compiled a roster of experts and established a stakeholder reference group with expertise in:
- data protection and privacy law
- health data science and statistics
- open data and end-user experience
- clinical trial reporting, medical writing
- anonymization and de-identification methods
- regulatory affairs and common technical document (CTD) structure
This group was comprised of a balanced representation of interested stakeholders. Advice and recommendations from this group focused on technical aspects of implementing of the public release of clinical information, which informed guidance for both producers and prospective users. Health Canada met with this group regularly from October 2017 until April 2018. Documentation on these meetings is available by request.
When and where
Public consultation on our draft regulations took place from December 19, 2017, to February 22, 2018.
The public consultation on the draft guidance took place between April 10, 2018 and June 25, 2018.
How to participate
Check out Health Canada’s clinical information portal to view releases available to the public, and releases in progress.
This initiative is based on extensive consultation with experts and stakeholders. To learn more, see:
- Policy paper on Public Release of Clinical Information
- Public submissions on policy paper (available on request)
- What We Heard report on policy paper consultation
- Draft regulatory amendments
- List of submissions on draft regulatory amendments (available on request)
- List of meetings and engagement with external stakeholders
- Mailing address:
Information Science and Openness Division
Resource Management and Operations Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch
Graham Spry Building
250 Lanark Avenue
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