In recent weeks, sponsors filing eCTD submissions to FDA have reported instances of Refuse to Receive (RTR) notifications for failure to provide a fillable Form 3674. These actions indicate that the Agency is stepping up enforcement in this area as it aims to process even more submissions automatically. Using industry presentations and guidance documents, FDA has previously stated that sponsors “must” include fillable forms. The Agency has also made it clear that scanned images of FDA forms “will not be accepted.” Based on the information made public by FDA to date and the experience of sponsors in recent months, the most logical strategy moving forward is to provide a fillable form where one is available.
The International Conference on Harmonization recently published a new Specification for Submission Formats for eCTD document. The document achieved ICH step 4 classification, meaning it’s approved for use by all regions. Collapsing bookmarks when documents are opened, a requirement for unique headers or footers on all pages and a limited set of fonts that are recommended for embedding are among the most notable new rules.
Japan’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), one of the earliest adopters of eCTD, adheres to a number of unique business rules which create a unique implementation of the eCTD specifications. Information available on eCTD best practices is also limited for this region, primarily due to lower levels of submission activity. What do we already know about submitting eCTDs in Japan and what can we expect later this decade as they implement eCTD v4.0?
Many international regulatory affairs professionals have come to dread the phrase “Module 1 Change” in the past decade. What looks like a simple reshuffling of leaf titles or the addition of a few new submission types grows into a much more complex problem to solve. Those of you in regulatory operations see on thing in large red letters – VALIDATION. The European Union is taking its turn in 2016. The EU M1 v3.0 final specification was published in October 2015 and is set to take effect July 1, 2016. The specifications become mandatory on October 1, 2016.
More than 3 million submissions were received via the ESG in 2015, and FDA representatives are estimating 7 million submissions for the year 2016. The volume increase is quite substantial considering 11.3 million submissions passed through the ESG in the previous 10 years (January 2006 to January 2016). Small user improvements planned by the FDA, and announced at DIA RSIDM 2016, will make life easier for sponsors who are growing more dependent on their Gateway accounts.
If history is any indication, the China Food and Drug Administration’s (CFDA) adoption of eCTD will also outpace anything previously seen at other regional health agencies. Moving to eCTD submissions is just one of many initiatives currently underway in China as part of an effort to reform regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.