During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) is acting as a forum to support strategic coordination and international cooperation among global medicine regulatory authorities.
The aim of these activities is to expedite and streamline the development, authorisation and availability of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines worldwide. ICMRA members also work towards increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory processes and decision-making.
Collective support to combat COVID-19
In April 2020, ICMRA members pledged to strengthen global collaborative efforts to align the facilitation of rapid development, approval and global roll-out of safe and effective medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
In their joint statement ICMRA members recommend that:
- governments and the international research community should prioritise large, well-designed, controlled clinical trials. Such trials are most likely to generate the conclusive evidence that developers and regulators need to enable the rapid development and approval of potential COVID-19 treatments;
- a global approach should be developed to achieve equitable access around the world to treatments and vaccines against COVID-19;
- pharmaceutical industry should work cooperatively in addressing medicine supply issues, shortages and decreased manufacturing capacities.
In June 2020, ICMRA members committed to stepping up the global collaboration and prioritisation of COVID-19 clinical trials, with the aim of expediting COVID-19 medicine and vaccine development and approval based on robust scientific evidence.
ICMRA statement on clinical trials: International regulators provide guidance on prioritisation of COVID-19 clinical trials
In the joint statement on clinical trials, ICMRA members:
- describe the key characteristics of clinical trials that are most likely to generate the conclusive evidence needed to enable the accelerated approval of potential treatments and vaccines against COVID-19;
- set out concrete actions that stakeholders involved with COVID-19 clinical trials should take to collect, analyse and report the data required to determine which investigational or repurposed medicinal products would be safe and effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19;
- emphasise their commitment to cooperate, expedite and share the evaluation of all COVID-19 trial results submitted to them;
- pledge to provide clear and transparent benefit-risk analyses in order to support the approval of effective and safe medicines, biologics, and vaccines against COVID-19.
In November, ICMRA and the World Health Organization (WHO) committed to working together to ensure that patients have access to safe and effective medicines against COVID-19 as early as possible, while the existing rigorous scientific standards for the evaluation and safety monitoring of treatments and vaccines are maintained at all times.
WHO-ICMRA joint statement on the need for improved global regulatory alignment on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines
In their joint statement, ICMRA members and WHO:
- reiterate that therapeutics and vaccines against COVID-19 can only be rapidly approved if applications are supported by robust and sound scientific evidence that allows medicine regulators to conclude on a positive benefit-risk balance for these products;
- pledge to take concrete actions to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and quality-assured medicines for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 around the world.
Statement in other languages
- Arabic - بيان مشترك من منظمة الصحة العالمية (WHO) والتحالف الدولي للجهات الرقابية على الأدوية (ICMRA) حول الحاجة إلى التنسيق بين الهيئات الرقابية العالمية بشأن الأدوية واللقاحات الخاصة بفيروس كورونا COVID-19
- Chinese Mandarin - 世界卫生组织—药物管制当局国际联盟关于需要改进2019冠状病毒病（COVID-19）药物和疫苗全球监管协调的联合声明
- French - Déclaration commune de l’OMS et de l’ICMRA sur la nécessité d’une meilleure harmonisation réglementaire mondiale sur les médicaments et les vaccins contre la COVID-19
- Japanese - COVID-19医薬品及びワクチンに関する国際規制協力の必要性に関するWHO-ICMRA共同ステートメント
- Russian - Совместное заявление ВОЗ и ICMRA о необходимости повышения согласованности режимов регулирования в отношении лекарственных средств и вакцин против COVID-19 во всем мире
- Spanish - Declaración conjunta ICMRA-OMS sobre la necesidad de mejorar el alineamiento global a nivel regulatorio de los medicamentos y vacunas contra la COVID-19
ICMRA urges all stakeholders, including vaccines researchers and investigators, academia, regulators and the pharmaceutical industry to continue COVID-19 vaccine trials beyond the time when the pre-defined cases of COVID-19 disease for final analysis in a trial have been reached. This can provide important additional and more precise information on longer-term safety and efficacy of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Statement in other languages
- French - Déclaration sur la poursuite des essais de vaccins
- Japanese - ワクチンの臨床試験継続に関するステートメント
Promoting confidence in COVID-19 vaccines
ICMRA members from around the world have jointly developed a statement to inform and help healthcare professionals answer questions about the role of regulators in the oversight of COVID-19 vaccines. It explains how vaccines undergo robust scientific evaluation to determine their safety, efficacy and quality and how safety will continue to be closely monitored after approval.
ICMRA statement for healthcare professionals: How COVID-19 vaccines will be regulated for safety and effectiveness
Statement in other languages
- French - Déclaration de l’ICMRA pour les professionnels de la santé : Comment l’innocuité et l’efficacité des vaccins contre la COVID-19 seront réglementées
COVID-19 meetings and workshops
ICMRA members discuss international alignment on COVID-19 policies in strategic meetings held every two weeks. These also focus on:
- pragmatic approaches to COVID-19 response
- regulatory flexibility in the context of the medical emergency
- extraordinary measures applied to address common challenges during the pandemic
- regulatory considerations related to COVID-19 clinical trial management
- prevention/mitigation of supply issues.
ICMRA is also holding international regulatory workshops on important topics to allow for in-depth discussions and to agree on common approaches. In addition to delegates representing 28 medicines regulatory authorities globally, participants include experts from the World Health Organization and the European Commission.
Calendar of meetings and workshops
|7 January 2021||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19|
|15 December 2020||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19|
|3 December 2020||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19|
|12 November 2020||Strategic meeting|
|29 October 2020||Strategic meeting|
|15 October 2020||Strategic meeting|
|13 October 2020||International regulatory workshop on observational studies and real-world data||Strengthening global collaboration on COVID-19 real-world evidence and observational studies|
|1 October 2020||Strategic meeting|
|17 September 2020||Strategic meeting|
|3 September 2020||Strategic meeting|
|20 August 2020||Strategic meeting|
|6 August 2020||Strategic meeting|
|23 July 2020||Strategic meeting|
|22 July 2020||International regulatory workshop on observational studies and real-world data||Global regulatory workshop on COVID-19 real-world evidence and observational studies|
|20 July 2020||International regulatory workshop on development of COVID-19 treatments||Global regulatory workshop on COVID-19 therapeutics #2: agreement on acceptable endpoints for clinical trials|
|9 July 2020||Strategic meeting|
|26 June 2020||Strategic meeting|
|22 June 2020||International regulatory workshop on development of COVID-19 vaccines|
|12 June 2020||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19 – update #4|
|27 May 2020||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19 – update #3|
|19 May 2020||International regulatory workshop on COVID-19 real-world evidence and observational studies||Global regulators commit to cooperate on observational research in the context of COVID-19|
|14 May 2020||Strategic meeting||Global regulators work towards alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19 – update #2|
|30 April 2020||Strategic meeting|
|16 April 2020||Strategic meeting||ICMRA aims for international alignment on policy approaches and regulatory flexibility during COVID-19 pandemic|
|6 April 2020||International regulatory workshop on observational studies and real-world data||Global regulators discuss observational studies of real world data for COVID-19 medicines|
|2 April 2020||International regulatory workshop on development of COVID-19 treatments||Global regulators stress need for robust evidence on COVID-19 treatments|
|18 March 2020||International regulatory workshop on development of COVID-19 vaccines||Global regulators map out data requirements for phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trials|
Information on COVID-19 from ICMRA members
ICMRA members provide information on their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic on their own websites. This information is available in a range of languages.
|European Medicines Agency||Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)||English|
|Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA)||PMDA’s Efforts to Combat COVID-19||English
|Swedish Medical Products Agency||Läkemedelsverkets arbete i samband med utbrottet av coronavirus/covid-19||Swedish|
|Health Canada||COVID-19 Health Product Industry||English
|Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA)||Emergenza COVID-19||Italian|
|Danish Medicines Agency (DKMA)||Ny coronavirus (COVID-19)
Overview of planned or ongoing studies of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19
|Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)||Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information on medicines and medical devices||English|
|Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)||MHRA guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)||English|
Promoting confidence in vaccines
In June 2020, ICMRA issued joint statements about the importance, safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The two ICMRA statements aim to reassure healthcare professionals and the public around the globe that medicines regulators only allow vaccines onto the market that fulfil the highest standards of safety, efficacy and quality.