The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) began collaboration on Good Clinical Practice (GCP) inspections for marketing applications since 2009. The main characteristics of the GCP inspection processes between FDA and EMA were never evaluated. This is the first analysis comparing the GCP inspection processes between the two agencies.
We examined and analyzed the key characteristics of the GCP inspection processes, including the geographical distribution, inspection types and timelines from application submission to final inspection reporting for marketing applications from September 2009 through December 2015.
Fifty-five shared applications were included for analysis. For these applications, a total of 433 GCP inspections were conducted in 47 countries. Most CI inspections were conducted in regions outside of each agency’s own regulatory jurisdiction, while most sponsor/contract research organizations (CRO) inspections were conducted in the U.S. by both agencies. Twenty-eight shared applications included common sites inspected by both agencies. There were 15 joint inspections conducted for seven of these applications and the remaining applications had common sites inspected by both agencies at separate times. Of the joint inspections, 73% were conducted in the U.S and 20% in the E.U. The median time from submission of an application to generation of final inspection reports was 232 days for FDA and 204 days for EMA, with no significant differences noted among applications with and without common sites.
The inspection processes and timelines between the two agencies were similar, providing support for continued FDA-EMA GCP collaboration.