Clinical and drugs safety organisations run their operation independently and use separate databases designed to comply with different data standards. This separation is neither efficient nor effective since investigators need to report serious adverse events both to the clinical and drug safety departments, causing the respective databases to contain partially overlapping data sets containing common elements that need to be reconciled. Electronic data capture provides the opportunity to avoid duplicate storage and obviate reconciliation. It also introduces the risk of non-compliance due to late submission of unexpected serious adverse reactions to competent authorities. This raises the potential for a clinical department to receive a case that the drug safety department is unaware of. However, the most significant inefficiency probably lies in the preparation of aggregate reports and regulatory documents that need to be prepared using data originating from both databases. In a resource-constrained world, unnecessary activities and associated costs are unwelcome, particularly when they are avoidable. The Clinical Data Interchange Consortium (CDISC) has set the standards for clinical trial data, while the International Conference of Harmonization (ICH) dictates drug safety ones. CDISC is expanding its Clinical Data Acquisition Standards Harmonisation (CDASH) model to capture adverse event data associated with ICH E2B. All common data items have two labels that have been mapped. This exercise is showing that there is no scientific justification for data segregation. The differences between these two standards can be attributed to conventions or arise from new technology that renders unnecessary the keying in of certain context information (dates, times and recorder ID).
Once this mapping is completed then a common data acquisition process will become feasible. This is the prerequisite to ultimately unifying the two databases and to implementing more efficient processes. The Authors also propose a new workflow to provide safety with the array of benefits that technology and process harmonisation offers and ultimately unifying the clinical drug safety processes.
HelsinnBirex, Damastown Industrial Centre, Mulhuddart Dublin 15, Dublin, Ireland