Comparisons of Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency Risk Management Implementation for Recent Pharmaceutical Approvals

Published Nov 2021


Lis Y, Roberts MH, Kamble S, Guo JJ, Raisch DW. Comparisons of Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency risk management implementation for recent pharmaceutical approvals: report of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Risk Benefit Management Working Group Value Health. 2012;15(8):1108-1118.


Objective: 1) To compare the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) and European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Risk Management Plan (RMP) guidances and 2) to compare REMS and RMPs for specific chemical entities and biological products. Methods: FDA, EMA, and pharmaceutical company Web sites were consulted for details pertaining to REMS and RMPs. REMS requirements include medication guides, communication plans, elements to ensure safe use, implementation systems, and specified assessment intervals. RMP requirements are increased pharmacovigilance and risk minimization activities. We compared these requirements for drugs requiring both REMS and RMPs.

Results: We identified 95 drugs on FDA’s REMS list as of March 2010. Of these, there were 29 drugs (11 biologics and 18 new chemical entities) with EMA RMPs. REMS and RMPs are similar in objectives, with comparable toolkits. Both allow flexibility in product-specific actions, recognizing adverse effects of potential concern. Of the 29 drugs reviewed, REMS requirements not included in RMPs were patient medication guides (100% of the drugs), provider communication plans (38%), and routine monitoring of REMS (66%). RMP requirements not included in REMS were specific adverse event reporting (45% of the drugs), prospective registry studies (34%), prospective epidemiology studies (24%), additional trial data (28%), and Summary of Product Characteristics contraindications (76%).

Conclusions: Both REMS and RMPs provide positive guidance for identification, monitoring, and minimization of risk to patient safety. Currently, neither agency provides specific guidance on how risk should be related to benefit either qualitatively or quantitatively.

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