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Institutional Review Board Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent for Clinical Investigations Involving No More Than Minimal Risk to Human Subjects; Guidance for Sponsors, Investigators, and Institutional Review Boards; Availability

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AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice of availability.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, the Agency, or we) is announcing the availability of a guidance for sponsors, investigators, and institutional review boards (IRBs) entitled “IRB Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent for Clinical Investigations Involving No More Than Minimal Risk to Human Subjects.” This guidance informs sponsors, investigators, IRBs, and other interested parties that FDA does not intend to object to an IRB waiving or altering informed consent requirements, as described in the guidance, for certain minimal risk clinical investigations. In addition, this guidance explains that FDA does not intend to object to a sponsor initiating, or an investigator conducting, a minimal risk clinical investigation for which an IRB waives or alters the informed consent requirements as described in the guidance.

DATES:

Submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments as follows:

Electronic Submissions

Submit electronic comments in the following way:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.
  • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

Written/Paper Submissions

Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

  • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2017-D-3235 for “IRB Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent for Clinical Investigations Involving No More Than Minimal Risk to Human Subjects; Guidance for Sponsors, Investigators, and Institutional Review Boards.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the office of Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Start Printed Page 34536Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.gpo.gov/​fdsys/​pkg/​FR-2015-09-18/​pdf/​2015-23389.pdf.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Submit written requests for single copies of the guidance to the Office of Good Clinical Practice, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 32, Rm. 5169, Silver Spring, MD 20993. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your requests. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the guidance document.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Janet Norden, Office of Good Clinical Practice, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-1127.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

We are announcing the availability of a guidance for sponsors, investigators and IRBs entitled “IRB Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent for Clinical Investigations Involving No More Than Minimal Risk to Human Subjects.” We are issuing this guidance consistent with our good guidance practices (GGP) regulation (§ 10.115 (21 CFR 10.115)). We are implementing this guidance without prior public comment because we have determined that prior public participation is not feasible or appropriate (§ 10.115(g)(2)). We made this determination because this guidance presents a less burdensome policy that is consistent with the public health. FDA believes this guidance will facilitate the conduct of certain minimal risk clinical investigations that are important to addressing significant public health needs without compromising the rights, safety, or welfare of human subjects. Although this guidance is immediately in effect, it remains subject to comment in accordance with FDA's GGP regulation. FDA will consider all comments received and will revise this guidance when appropriate.

On December 13, 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) (Pub. L. 114-255) was signed into law. Title III, section 3024 of the Cures Act amended sections 520(g)(3) and 505(i)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) to provide authority for FDA to permit an exception from informed consent requirements when the proposed clinical testing poses no more than minimal risk to the human subject and includes appropriate safeguards to protect the rights, safety, and welfare of the human subject. This statutory amendment became effective on December 13, 2016.

Currently, FDA's regulations governing the protection of human subjects (21 CFR parts 50 and 56) allow exception from the general requirements for informed consent only in life-threatening situations when certain conditions are met (21 CFR 50.23) or when the requirements for emergency research are met (21 CFR 50.24), but do not include an exception from informed consent for minimal risk clinical investigations. In light of the Cures Act amendment to the FD&C Act described previously, FDA intends to revise its informed consent regulations to add a waiver or alteration for minimal risk clinical investigations, under appropriate human subject protection safeguards, to the two existing exceptions from informed consent.

This guidance informs sponsors, investigators, and IRBs that until FDA issues these regulations, we do not intend to object to an IRB approving a consent procedure that does not include, or that alters, some or all of the elements of informed consent set forth in 21 CFR 50.25, or waiving the requirements to obtain informed consent as described in the guidance. In addition, we do not intend to object to a sponsor initiating, or an investigator conducting, a minimal risk clinical investigation for which an IRB waives or alters the informed consent requirements as described in the guidance. We believe that this guidance will facilitate investigators' ability to conduct studies that may contribute substantially to the development of products to diagnose or treat diseases or conditions, or address unmet medical needs, without compromising the rights, safety, or welfare of human subjects.

The guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on this topic. It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. This is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 12866.

II. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This guidance refers to previously approved collections of information found in FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information referenced in this guidance that are related to IRB recordkeeping requirements under 21 CFR part 56 have been approved under OMB control numbers 0910-0755 and 0910-0130.

III. Electronic Access

Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the guidance at either http://www.fda.gov/​RegulatoryInformation/​Guidances/​default.htm, http://www.fda.gov/​ScienceResearch/​SpecialTopics/​RunningClinicalTrials/​GuidancesInformationSheetsandNotices/​ucm219433.htm, or https://www.regulations.gov. Use the FDA Web site listed in the previous sentence to find the most current version of the guidance.

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Dated: July 11, 2017.

Anna K. Abram,

Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis.

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[FR Doc. 2017-15539 Filed 7-24-17; 8:45 am]

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