Defining complexity: A framework to identify complex clinical trials and set them up for success

It’s easy to feel like clinical trials are complex. They are experiments involving human beings — so things change. But, despite feeling like complexity is everywhere, there is little clarity on what constitutes a complex trial and what sponsors need to do to prepare these trials for success. Both the FDA and EMA, for example, offer somewhat vague definitions of what makes trials complex; the FDA says that designs “intended to advance and modernize drug development” are complex.1 The EMA defines complex trials as having “non-conventional … elements, features, methods … that confer complexity of their designs, conduct, analyses or reporting.” Neither of these definitions provides a practical framework to help sponsors identify what makes trials complex, whether a particular trial meets the criteria, or how to set up complex trials for the greatest chance of success.

This article aims to fill that gap by providing a framework for complexity in clinical trials. Over Suvo…

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