Regulatory changes after the enforcement of the new Clinical Trials Act in Japan

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2020 Apr 7;50(4):399-404. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyaa028.


Objective: To describe changes in Japanese clinical trial regulations after the implementation of the Clinical Trials Act in April 2018.

Methods: First, how to apply multiple regulations after the enforcement of Clinical Trials Act was described. Second, the changes in the number of clinical trials in the National Cancer Center Hospital under each regulation were compared before and after the implementation of Clinical Trials Act. Third, new requirements imposed by Clinical Trials Act and their influences were discussed.

Results: In April 2018, Clinical Trials Act was enacted and academic clinical trials were classified into the following three categories: (i) investigator-initiated registration-directed trial under the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act; (ii) clinical trial under Clinical Trials Act; and (iii) clinical trial under the Ethical Guidelines. While 90% (205/227) of interventional studies were conducted under the Ethical Guidelines before the implementation of Clinical Trials Act in 2018, 46% (94/204) were subject to Clinical Trials Act in 2019 at the National Cancer Center Hospital. Under the Clinical Trials Act, investigators receive a scientific/ethical review by a certified review board (CRB). The identification of investigators in charge is mandated and they are required to submit the conflict of interest management plan to CRB. After the CRB review, the principal investigator must submit the trial plan to the government, and the content is uploaded to the newly established clinical trial registry site, the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials.

Conclusions: The enforcement of the new Clinical Trials Act was supposed to improve the reliability of academic clinical trials in Japan; however, the financial and administrative burden may reduce clinical trial activity in the years to come.

Keywords: Advanced Medical Care; Clinical Trials Act; Ethical Guidelines; Japanese regulation; Specified clinical trial.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / ethics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Services
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Registries
  • Social Control, Formal*