Clinical Trial Compliance: 3 Things You Should Know

Clinical trial refers to testing the safety and efficacy of a new medical treatment or device in human volunteers. It can evaluate a new drug’s medical, behavioural or surgical intervention. Clinical trials play a vital role in advancing medical research. Researchers use the results to determine if a new drug, medical device, diet or other treatment method is more effective or has less harmful effects than the standard treatment method. 

Clinical trial compliance refers to meeting local, national and international guidelines for clinical trials that are legally binding on sponsors, patients, investigators and ethics committees. Compliance is essential, as it ensures that the researchers protect the clinical trial participants and respect their rights. This article discusses the vital things you should know about clinical trial compliance.

  1. The CDISC Standards 

The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) is an international organization that develops and maintains standards for the exchange, comparison and analysis of clinical trial data. These standards facilitate data collection, management and submission in a consistent format that all stakeholders can understand. CDISC’s role in clinical trials is to ensure that data is collected consistently and promptly. 

The CDISC standards are crucial in any clinical trails. For example, it’s mandatory for any clinical trial submissions in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Agency (PMDA) to adhere to CDISC standards. Moreover, CDISC compliance regulations also apply in the academic world, where institutions must comply with the regulations to get funding for clinical trials.

While the CDISC regulations may seem complicated, they’re essential in ensuring that the data collected is reliable and consistent across different clinical trials. The regulations also provide improved analyses and insights into the clinical research process. 

  1. Ethical Requirements In Clinical Trials 

Another critical point to consider when it comes to clinical trial compliance is ethical requirements. All clinical trials must adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines to protect research participants’ rights and ensure good clinical practice. 

Some of the ethical guidelines in clinical research include the following: 

  • Social and clinical value: The study must benefit society and advance medical knowledge. Any answer to a research question should be of significant importance for people to accept some risk or inconvenience.
  • Favourable risk-benefit ratio: The potential benefit of participating in the research should outweigh any possible risks. The researchers must minimize risks, such as death, infections and disability, to the volunteers. The benefits should be proportionate to or outweigh any clinical trial risk.
  • Respect for potential and enrolled volunteers: Respect for research participants is of utmost importance. Researchers must treat potential and registered volunteers with respect, fairness and dignity throughout the research process. They must have a right to privacy and change their mind. Researchers must inform participants of any new information in the course of the research, and they should also be informed about the research findings
  • Informed consent: All research participants should give informed consent before participating in the trial. The researchers must provide participants with information to understand their agreement and make an informed decision. Additionally, they must be allowed to ask questions and withdraw from the trial at any time without fear of repercussions.

These guidelines protect the researchers and, most importantly, the participants throughout the testing.

  1. Clinical Trial Billing Compliance

Clinical trial billing compliance is a regulatory requirement that ensures the researchers complete all payments for clinical research services accurately, ethically and in compliance with the applicable laws. It also ensures that all the charges are directed to the responsible party, whether a third party or a research account. 

Maintaining accurate records of expenses related to clinical trials is crucial, as regulatory bodies use these records during inspections. Additionally, billing compliance safeguards against fraudulent activities and helps protect the integrity of the data generated by the clinical trial.

Clinical research sites and institutions that don’t conduct billing compliance appropriately risk facing financial penalties or even being de-registered. For example, there’s a risk of a False Claims Act and other fraud occurrences at the federal or local levels. Becoming aware and compliant with the billing regulations can save the institutions and the participants money and time in the long run.


Clinical trial compliance is a complex process that involves multiple parties and regulations. It’s essential for medical research to adhere to all the applicable laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines to protect the rights of research participants and ensure good clinical practice. 

Additionally, billing compliance should be adhered to prevent financial penalties or fraud occurrences. Taking the time to understand and practice clinical trial compliance is worth the effort to protect patient rights and maintain ethical practices. 

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