Advance Blog

February 22, 2024

New Rules on Drug Importation for Clinical Trials Set to Take Effect in Thailand

Thailand is preparing to implement new rules on drug importation for clinical studies. The Medicines Regulation Department of Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA) first issued the Notification Re. Detailed Requirements for Drug Importation into Thailand for Clinical Studies almost a year ago, and the notification is expected to come into effect on March 1, 2024.

Key Provisions

The notification aims at enhancing the efficiency of conducting clinical studies while ensuring the protection of human subjects participating in such studies within Thailand. Some of its key provisions include:

  • Definition of Clinical Study. The notification defines a “clinical study” as a study of a medicine involving human subjects, conducted to provide supporting evidence for the registration of a medicinal product in Thailand or other countries, including for additional indications or variations of a registration dossier.
  • Compliance with ICH GCP. Clinical studies conducted in Thailand must adhere to the current edition of the International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines.
  • Clinical Trial Application. Sponsors are required to submit a clinical trial application along with supporting documents to the Thai FDA for approval before commencing a clinical study. The permit remains valid for five years and is renewable.
  • Supply of Investigational Drugs. Sponsors must obtain investigational drugs from manufacturers compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards as recognized by the Thai FDA.
  • Postapproval Obligations. The secretary-general of the Thai FDA may impose postapproval conditions or order investigators to conduct or suspend certain activities to ensure human subject protection and regulatory compliance.
  • Regulatory Oversight. The Thai FDA is responsible for inspecting and overseeing the regulatory compliance of clinical studies, including during prestudy, ongoing, and poststudy phases. The Thai FDA may also conduct inspections of clinical studies conducted overseas. The Thai FDA secretary-general may also order investigators to amend, suspend, or cancel a clinical study if deemed necessary.
  • Reporting Requirements. Sponsors must submit various reports, including adverse event reports and progress reports, as prescribed in subsequent notifications.

The detailed requirements outlined in the notification are a notable step forward for importation of drugs into Thailand for clinical studies. Sponsors and investigators involved in clinical studies within Thailand should familiarize themselves with these provisions to ensure full compliance.

For further guidance on complying with the notification, or on any aspect of pharmaceutical business operations in Thailand, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].

Atthachai Homhuan
Manager, Regulatory Affairs
Alan Adcock
Partner, Intellectual Property

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