Patient Registries: An Underused Resource for Medicines Evaluation : Operational proposals for increasing the use of patient registries in regulatory assessments

Drug Saf. 2019 Nov;42(11):1343-1351. doi: 10.1007/s40264-019-00848-9.


Introduction: Patient registries, 'organised systems that use observational methods to collect uniform data on a population defined by a particular disease, condition, or exposure, and that is followed over time', are potentially valuable sources of data for supporting regulatory decision-making, especially for products to treat rare diseases. Nevertheless, patient registries are greatly underused in regulatory assessments. Reasons include heterogeneity in registry design and in the data collected, even across registries for the same disease, as well as unreliable data quality and data sharing impediments. The Patient Registries Initiative was established by the European Medicines Agency in 2015 to support registries in collecting data suitable to contribute to regulatory assessments, especially post-authorisation safety and effectiveness studies.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative synthesis of the published observations and recommendations from an initiative-led multi-stakeholder consultation and four disease-specific patient registry workshops. We identified the primary factors facilitating the use of registry data in regulatory assessments. We generated proposals on operational measures needed from stakeholders including registry holders, patients, healthcare professionals, regulators, marketing authorisation applicants and holders, and health technology assessment bodies for implementing these.

Results: Ten factors were identified as facilitating registry use for supporting regulatory assessments of medicinal products. Proposals on operational measures needed for implementation were categorised according to three themes: (1) nature of the data collected and registry quality assurance processes; (2) registry governance, informed consent, data protection and sharing; and (3) stakeholder communication and planning of benefit-risk assessments.

Conclusions: These are the first explicit proposals, from a regulatory perspective, on operational methods for increasing the use of patient registries in medicines regulation. They apply to registry holders, patients, regulators, marketing authorisation holders/applicants and healthcare stakeholders broadly, and their implementation would greatly facilitate the use of these valuable data sources in regulatory decision-making.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Decision Making
  • Drug Approval*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Marketing
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing / methods*
  • Registries*
  • Risk Assessment