The new article highlights the critical points related to the application process, outlining the key steps to be taken when applying for approval in a clinical investigation.

DRAP Guidance on Clinical Trials: Import, Timelines, and Ethical Approval

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the country’s agency in healthcare products, has published a guidance document dedicated to clinical research.
The document provides an overview of the applicable regulatory requirements, as well as additional clarifications and recommendations to be considered by medical device manufacturers and other parties involved to ensure compliance with it.

At the same time, provisions of the guidance are non-binding in their legal nature, nor are they intended to introduce new rules or impose new obligations.
Moreover, the authority reserves the right to change the guidance and recommendations provided therein, should such changes be reasonably necessary to reflect corresponding amendments to the underlying legislation. 

In particular, the guidelines delineate the key considerations related to the application process.
The relevant section dedicated to application procedures for Contract Research Organizations (CROs), BA/BE Study Centers, Bio-Analytical Laboratories, Clinical Trial Sites, and Clinical Research registration in Pakistan outlines a structured approach to ensure regulatory compliance and standardization across the clinical research-related matters.
The article captures the essential steps, requirements, and guidelines for stakeholders engaging in clinical research within the country.

Who Can Apply

First, the authority outlines the scope of entities eligible for application. According to the document, applications for licensing or approval of CROs, BA/BE Study Centers, and Bio-Analytical Laboratories must be submitted by heads of institutions or individuals with equivalent or higher qualifications in medicine or pharmaceutical sciences.

Similarly, applications for Clinical Trial Sites must come from the Principal Investigator (PI), Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI), or qualified institutional heads. The sponsor of the trial/study or the nominated PI may apply for clinical trial registration, highlighting a systematic approach to accountability in clinical research.

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Application Submission Process

Applications are directed to the Chairman or Secretary of the Clinical Studies Committee (CSC) via the Division of Pharmacy Services at DRAP.
The process involves generating a fee payment request online, payable at Allied Bank of Pakistan, emphasizing a streamlined and accountable financial procedure.

Forms and Documentation

The guidelines also provide additional clarifications regarding specific documents related to the process, including:

  • Licensing of Site/Center & Clinical Research: Applications for licensing or approval utilize Form-I, while clinical trial registration employs Form-II, and BA/BE Study registration uses Form-IIA (Amended), each accompanied by guidance notes to aid applicants.
  • Renewal of License: Form-III is designated for renewals, underscoring the need for ongoing compliance and review.

The DRAP website provides access to all necessary forms, ensuring transparency and accessibility.

Presentation and Submission

As explained by the authority, applications must be presented in a single volume or series of volumes, with clear, legible documentation, including a complete, sequentially numbered application and supporting documents.
This organized presentation facilitates the review process, ensuring that each application is evaluated thoroughly and efficiently.

Supporting Documentation

Applicants are also encouraged to attach peer-reviewed publications supporting their application, demonstrating the scientific foundation of their proposed research. Including such documents underscores the importance of evidence-based research in the approval process.

Digital Submission

A digital copy of the application dossier in PDF-OCR format, along with a separate folder containing technical documents, is recommended by the authority as the one to be followed.
This digital submission ensures a comprehensive application review while supporting environmental sustainability through reduced paper use.

Language Requirements

By the applicable regulatory requirements, all applications and supporting documents must be in English, with authenticated translations provided for any non-English documentation.
This standardization facilitates the review process and ensures clarity and understanding among all stakeholders.


DRAP commits to maintaining the confidentiality of all submitted information, protecting the integrity and proprietary nature of clinical research data.
This assurance of privacy is crucial for fostering trust and encouraging the submission of high-quality research applications.


In summary, a comprehensive framework for the application process for CROs, BA/BE Study Centers, Bio-Analytical Laboratories, Clinical Trial Sites, and Clinical Research in Pakistan described in the present guidelines reflects a robust regulatory approach.
It emphasizes the importance of accountability, scientific integrity, and regulatory compliance, ensuring that clinical research conducted within the country meets the requirements set forth by international standards for safety, efficacy, and ethical conduct.

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