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Global medical device clinical trials involving both the United States and Japan: Key considerations for development, regulatory approval, and conduct.

As medical device development becomes increasingly global, the opportunities and potential advantages offered by international clinical trial and regulatory approval strategies are also growing. In particular, medical device clinical trials involving sites in both the United States and Japan and intended to support marketing in both countries may warrant particular consideration, given the similarities in their regulatory systems, patients and clinical practice patterns, and market sizes. Since 2003, the US-Japan Harmonization By Doing (HBD) initiative has been focused on identifying and addressing clinical and regulatory barriers to medical devices access in both countries via collaboration between governmental, academic, and industry stakeholders. Through the efforts of HBD participants, US-Japanese clinical trials have been conducted and the resulting data have supported regulatory approval for marketing in both countries. Based on these experiences, this paper outlines some of the key factors to consider when developing a global clinical trial involving US and Japanese participation. These considerations include the mechanisms for consultation with regulatory authorities on clinical trial strategies, the regulatory framework for clinical trial notification and approval, recruitment and conduct of clinical sites, and lessons learned from specific US-Japanese clinical trial experiences. The goal of this paper is to promote global access to promising medical technologies by assisting potential clinical trial sponsors in understanding when an international strategy may be appropriate and successful.

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