Q&A on FDA’s Requirements Related to Financial Disclosure by Clinical Investigators


What financial arrangements between clinical trial sponsors and clinical investigators must be disclosed in a drug, biologic or device marketing application?

In a marketing application, FDA requires that four types of financial arrangements be disclosed: (1) any financial arrangement between the sponsor and the investigator whereby the value of the compensation to the investigator for conducting the study could be influenced by the outcome of the study; (2) any significant payments of other sorts from the sponsor, such as a grant to fund ongoing research, compensation in the form of equipment, a retainer for ongoing consultation, or honoraria, which are greater than $25,000 in cumulative value and given to the investigator or the investigator’s institution to support the investigator’s activities, exclusive of the costs of conducting the study, for the duration of the study and for one year following the study’s completion; (3) any proprietary interest in the tested product held by the investigator; and (4) any significant equity interest in the sponsor held by the investigator, which is any amount for a non-publicly traded company or an equity interest in a public company valued over $50,000 for the duration of the study and for one year following the study’s completion.

How is a clinical investigator defined in the context of FDA financial disclosure regulations?

In FDA’s financial disclosure regulations, the agency defines a clinical investigator as a listed or identified investigator or sub-investigator who is directly involved in the treatment or evaluation of research subjects. The term also includes the spouse and each dependent child of the investigator.

What does FDA look for with regard to financial interest?

FDA looks at several factors with regard to financial interest, including the size and nature of the disclosed financial interest, the steps taken to minimize the potential for bias, and the study design. For example, FDA will evaluate whether the study has been designed with multiple investigators (most without a disclosable interest), blinding, objective endpoints, or measurement of endpoints by someone other than the investigator. FDA may initiate audits of the data from the investigator at issue, request that the applicant submit further analyses of the data or conduct additional independent studies to confirm the results. The agency could also refuse to treat the study as providing data that can be the basis for an agency action. We recommend you contact your Goodwin life sciences or FDA lawyer for further explanation of the agency’s financial disclosure regulations.