Interim Order respecting clinical trials for medical devices and drugs relating to COVID-19: Notice
Date published: May 27, 2020
On May 23, 2020, the Minister of Health approved an Interim Order Respecting Clinical Trials for Medical Devices and Drugs Relating to COVID-19. This Interim Order (IO) is a response to the need for urgent COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention options.
The IO introduces an alternate pathway to facilitate clinical trials for potential COVID-19 drugs and medical devices, while upholding strong patient safety requirements and validity of trial data. The IO does not apply to radiopharmaceutical drugs, natural health products and Class I medical devices.
On this page
- Why the Interim Order was introduced
- Facilitating COVID-19 clinical trials in Canada
- Prioritizing COVID-19 clinical trials
Why the Interim Order was introduced
To date, there are no therapies or vaccines to effectively treat or prevent COVID-19. For this reason, there is an urgent need to initiate clinical trials for novel therapies and to assess the effectiveness of existing therapies. Clinical trials are an important step in finding safe and effective treatment options for patients.
Facilitating COVID-19 clinical trials in Canada
The IO introduces regulatory flexibility to allow for broader types of COVID-19 clinical trials to take place more efficiently. This flexibility also facilitates broader patient participation across the country. The IO will help to:
- reduce administrative requirements for assessing the use of existing marketed products as possible COVID-19-related therapies
- allow alternate means of obtaining patient consent in light of COVID-19 realities
- broaden the criteria for qualified health professionals who can carry out qualified investigator duties at remote sites
- expand the range of applicants who are able to apply for a medical device clinical trial authorization
These key measures will help to identify safe and effective interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. They also ensure the safety of clinical trial participants and the reliability of trial results.
The IO reinforces Canada’s status as an attractive place to conduct clinical research, leading to greater access to potential COVID-19 treatment options for Canadians.
Prioritizing COVID-19 clinical trials
Health Canada has already authorized numerous COVID-19 clinical trials under existing regulations. We are committed to prioritizing the review of all COVID-19 clinical trial applications. Under the IO, we will continue to review clinical trials applications (and amendments) for COVID-19 drugs and medical devices within 14 days. Research Ethics Boards across the country are also prioritizing reviews and approvals for COVID-19 clinical trials.
The IO pathway is in addition to the existing regulatory pathways in the Food and Drug Regulations and Medical Devices Regulations. As an alternative to these requirements, the applicants of clinical trials for COVID-19-related drugs and medical devices may choose to proceed through this pathway.
If you wish to submit an application for authorization of a clinical trial under the IO, please contact Health Canada. You can also refer to the guidance document for COVID-19 drug clinical trials or for COVID-19 medical device clinical trials.
Please contact us at:
- trials using pharmaceutical drugs: firstname.lastname@example.org
- trials using biologic drugs (including blood and blood components): email@example.com
- trials using medical devices: firstname.lastname@example.org
Related links and guidance
- Interim Order Respecting Clinical Trials for Medical Devices and Drugs Relating to COVID-19
- Applications for drug clinical trials under the Interim Order: Guidance Document
- Applications for medical device clinical trials under the Interim Order: Guidance Document
- Guidance document for clinical trial sponsors: Clinical trial applications
- Applications for medical device investigational testing authorizations – guidance document
- Management of clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic: Notice to clinical trial sponsors
- Clinical trials in Canada
- Health Canada’s clinical trials database
- Drugs and vaccines for COVID-19: List of all COVID 19 clinical trials authorized by Health Canada
- Medical devices for COVID-19: List of authorized clinical trials
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