Addressing Clinical Trial Challenges & Concerns during COVID-19
The current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on clinical trials has created a sense of chaos amongst medical device companies worldwide. Are there creative ways to stay on track while ensuring the safety of those involved?
In this episode of the Global Medical Device Podcast, Jon Speer talks to Isabella Schmitt, Regulatory Affairs Consultant, and Stephanie Mull, Director of Clinical Project Management, from Proxima Clinical Research (CRO).
Together, they discuss the challenges and concerns for medical device companies conducting clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers new perspectives for listeners to consider in terms of potential efficiencies and cost savings to gain.
Some highlights of this episode include:
- Challenges related to COVID include sites suspending operations of clinical trials, and restricting CROs and subjects from traveling or coming to sites.
- Some medical device spaces, products, and technologies have been impacted more than others. It’s more difficult than normal, but not impossible, to perform elective procedures, especially in hospitals.
- Widespread, Worldwide: Clinical trials continue to be conducted in the United States, but in a different atmosphere with changes compared to other areas that have completely suspended trials temporarily, such as Europe and China.
- Subject safety is the primary issue to be considered and evaluated related to risks, reasons, and causes to suspend clinical trials.
- Staff Availability: Sites must have adequate and properly qualified and trained staff to conduct and provide oversight to continue clinical trials safely.
- Electronic data capture (EDC) versus paper management of sites and studies for clinical trials is a more controllable way to document and collect data from patient monitoring and different types of visits.
- Protocol deviations and amendments should be approved by the FDA before proceeding with a clinical trial. Subject safety, again, is always the first priority.
- Human Factors: Changes should make medical device and clinical trial design more usable, such as patient monitoring from a safe distance due to COVID.
Memorable quotes from this episode:
“A lot of the trials have been stalled, and it’s hard to get sites up and running.” Isabella Schmitt
“We’re seeing a lot of issues with just sites not being able to operate normally, and then sponsors and CROs not being able to operate normally either.” Stephanie Mull
“Even if the trials are running, there are changes being made. People are moving to more remote monitoring or virtual visits. Things like that are occurring more.” Isabella Schmitt
“The first thing is the subject safety. That’s always the paramount issue in a clinical trial, whether there’s COVID or not.” Stephanie Mull