skip to main content

100. Overview of FDA Regulations, Information Sheets and Guidance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an HHS agency that regulates clinical investigations of products under its jurisdiction including drugs, biological products, and medical devices.

FDA regulations are published in title 21 of the CFR. The following FDA human subject research regulations apply to the IRB and to University and Affiliate researchers conducting clinical trials, and research involving investigational drugs and devices:

21 CFR 50 Protection of Human Subjects (i.e. The Common Rule)
21 CFR 56 Institutional Review Boards
21 CFR 312 Investigational New Drug Application (IND)
21 CFR 812 Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The University IRB follows ICH‐GCP (E6) only to the extent required by DHHS and FDA regulations, information sheets and guidance documents; and when applicable, the regulations of other federal agencies and international laws, regulations, and guidelines.

The University IRB applies the following additional FDA regulations when applicable:

21 CFR 11 Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures
21 CFR 54 Financial Disclosure by Clinical Investigators
21 CFR 210 Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing Processing Packing or Holding of Drugs; General
21 CFR 211 Current Good Manufacturing Practice for Finished Pharmaceuticals
21 CFR 314 Applications for FDA Approval to Market a New Drug
21 CFR 320 Bioavailability and Bioequivalence Requirements
21 CFR 330 Over-the-Counter (OTC) Human Drugs Which Are Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective and Not Misbranded
21 CFR 601 Licensing [Biologics]
21 CFR 807 Establishment Registration and Device Listing for Manufacturers and Initial Importers of Devices
21 CFR 814 Premarket Approval of Medical Devices
21 CFR 820 Quality System Regulation
21 CFR 860 Medical Device Classification Procedures

The Research Integrity Office (RIO) and the University IRB rely on the following FDA Information Sheets and guidance documents when relevant:

FDA offers Guidance for Institutional Review Boards, Clinical Investigators, and Sponsors: Exception From Informed Consent Requirements for Emergency Research which clarifies the regulations at 21 CFR 50.24 and the conforming amendments contained in 21 CFR Parts 56, 312, 314, 601, 812, and 814 provide a narrow exception to the requirement that the investigator obtain informed consent from each subject, or the subject's legally authorized representative, prior to enrollment in emergency research. The regulations also provide additional protections for subjects enrolled in these studies. For example, the regulations require consultation with representatives of and public disclosure to the communities in which the clinical investigation will be conducted and from which the subjects will be drawn, prior to initiation of the clinical investigation. They also require public disclosure of sufficient information following completion of the clinical investigation to apprise the community and researchers of the study. As well, the regulations require that an independent data monitoring committee exercises oversight of the clinical investigation. This exception is currently not available to University or Affiliate Researchers. Individuals proposing to conduct planned emergency research are to contact the RIO to discuss the proposed research and allow RIO time to prepare a policy, researcher form, and review worksheet.

IRB Review of FDA Research

  • The IRB requires additional information for FDA research conducted under an IND or IDE to verify that investigators address IRB-relevant elements specific to FDA regulations.
  • Research conducted under IND or IDE is reviewed at convened Biomedical IRB meetings, with the exception of continuing reviews that meet the criteria for expedited review under Categories 8(a), 8(b), or 8(c) or reviews of minor modifications (see Policy Manual Definitions) to previously approved research.
  • In presenting the protocol to the IRB, the primary reviewer will address the additional FDA regulatory requirements.
  • As warranted, the IRB will request policies from Affiliate sites to assess mechanisms for control of FDA-regulated test articles.

The University IRB ensures clinicians comply with FDA regulations when using investigational articles outside of the research setting. For information about the specific uses, see IRB policy for

The IRB also oversees situations in which clinicians and investigators use "Humanitarian Use Devices" (i.e., medical devices intended to benefit patients with diseases that affect fewer than 4,000 persons in the US annually).

NOTE: FDA and DHHS human research protection regulations differ. For research subject to review under FDA and DHHS human subject regulations, both sets of regulations apply and the requirements for both sets of regulations must be met. See FDA table comparing these two sets of regulations.

Take the next step...