Frequently Asked Questions

How can FDA protect human subjects following the discovery of clinical investigator misconduct?

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Clinical Trials
Guidelines & Standards
Investigator: General

Initiation of an enforcement action in federal court or a disqualification proceeding does not by itself halt an investigator's participation in clinical trials. Until an investigator is disqualified by FDA, the investigator remains free to participate in ongoing and new clinical investigations. There are, however, instances in which the investigator's misconduct appears to pose an ongoing risk to the safety and welfare of the human subjects under the care of that investigator. For example, where an investigator is found to have failed to monitor subjects for signs of serious toxicity associated with the experimental therapy, or falsified eligibility data, FDA may conclude that subjects under that investigator's care are at risk. Under such circumstances, protection of subjects may demand a more rapid intervention than would be offered by an enforcement action or a disqualification proceeding. As discussed above, an effective means of acting promptly to protect human subjects after the discovery of serious investigator misconduct is to impose a clinical hold on those studies or study sites involving the investigator.