Quality of serious adverse events reporting to academic sponsors of clinical trials: far from optimal

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the quality of the serious adverse events (SAE) reported to an academic sponsor. Assessing the safety of a clinical trial relies on information gathering the collection of adverse events reported by the investigators to the sponsor. The accuracy of safety evaluation depends in particular on the quality of the reporting.


All SAE case report forms, reported in 2012 to the sponsor from all clinical trials, were evaluated for completeness and accuracy with a standardized data quality evaluation form. Several items were assessed: regulatory mandatory information and items concerning the reported events. For statistical comparisons, Chi2/exact Fisher test was performed.


Investigators or patients were not identified in <3% of the reports. The investigational product was not identified in 11.2%. In 3.6% of the reports, the seriousness of the event was unknown. The causality assessment was missing in 9.3%. In 15.0%, the verbatim of the event was considered as not consistent with the description of the event. In 32.4%, the sponsor considered there were insufficient data concerning relevant laboratory/additional examinations performed or relevant history required to help in the assessment. The onset date of SAE was not mentioned in 5.7% of the reports and patient outcome in 12.1%.


This study highlighted the far from optimal quality of reporting both in terms of completeness and accuracy. The accurate coding of the events using MedDRA and the safety evaluation by the sponsor can be difficult. The training of investigators in SAE reporting must be improved. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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