To give oncology products the best possible opportunity
By: Dr Brian Edwards, Principal Consultant, NDA Group
In this article, Dr Brian Edwards follows on from his very successful webinar, Opportunities to enhance Pharmacovigilance in Oncology, to argue that to maximise the benefits of innovation in our products we need innovative pharmacovigilance.
We are witnessing a tremendous expansion in oncology products with great opportunities that will benefit patients. Regulatory agencies have responded with expedited review pathways and schemes to enable early access. Data sources such as patient reported outcomes and real-world evidence are being adopted, especially once the product is marketed. The products may often be dependent on biomarker kits which have arisen from the exciting progress in genomic and stratified medicine.
Throughout healthcare and the life sciences, technologies such as machine learning or artificial intelligence are being introduced with great expectation about increased cost efficiency and productivity. With this greater importance of pharmacovigilance (PV) within a changing environment, we need to adapt to recognise limitations of certain data so that the quality that can be reasonably expected will differ if we are to strengthen current standards of PV.
However, we put all this progress at risk if we do not respond effectively to warning signs about medical quality, timely follow up and completeness of adverse drug reaction (ADR) case reports that could undermine confidence in novel oncology products by impairing the ability to make informed decisions.
For that reason, in their 2015 Guidance, the FDA urges sponsors not to report all serious adverse events, including those where there is little reason to consider them suspected adverse reactions.* Study investigators agree. There seems to be misinterpretation of what should be sent to sites resulting in examples where all reported adverse events are sent to every site that conducts a trial that uses that agent, regardless of relevance.
The full article was published in Volume 69 Spring 2020 of Pharmafile – Therapeutic areas in focus.
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*Safety assessment for IND safety reporting guidance for industry, Food and Drug Administration, 2015, https://www.fda.gov/files/drugs/published/Safety-Assessmentfor-IND-Safety-Reporting-Guidance-for-Industry.pdf