Questions and answers: Article 31 pharmacovigilance referrals

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This guidance addresses a number of questions which stakeholders, in particular marketing authorisation holders (MAHs), may have on an Article 31 referral resulting from the evaluation of data from pharmacovigilance activities.

It provides an overview of the Agency’s practical and operational aspects with regards to the handling of Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedures.

A PDF version of these questions and answers is available: 

The integrated PDF version has been created for printing purposes only. Please refer to the individual questions and answers as published in the referral procedures guidance for access to the hyperlinked information.

Questions and answers are being updated continuously, and will be marked by “New” or “Rev.” with the relevant date upon publication.

It should be highlighted that these questions and answers have been produced for guidance only without prejudice to legal and regulatory interpretation which might be provided in future updates of the notice to applicants. They should be read in conjunction with Directive 2001/83/EC.

Table of contents


Initiation of an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure

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1. What is the legal basis of an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral? Rev. March 2015

An Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral follows the provisions of Article 31 of Directive 2001/83/EC.

It applies where the interests of the Union are involved, and only when the procedure is initiated as a result of the evaluation of data relating to pharmacovigilance of an authorised medicinal product(s)1.

The procedure for an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral is laid down in Article 32, and Articles 107j(2) to 107k of Directive 2001/83/EC.

References


1When the procedure is initiated as a result of the from the evaluation of data relating to quality and/or efficacy of an authorised medicinal product(s), the procedure for an Article 31 non-pharmacovigilance referral will apply, and in such cases the matter should be referred to the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). Please refer to the Questions & Answers on the practical implementation of Article 31 non-pharmacovigilance referrals.

2. In which situations can an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure be initiated? Rev. March 2015

An Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure should be initiated where the interests of the Union are involved and as a result of the evaluation of data relating to pharmacovigilance activities of an authorised medicinal product(s), and when none of the criteria listed in Article 107i(1)1of Directive 2001/83/EC are met.

References


1Where one of the criteria listed in Article 107i(1) is met, the urgent union procedure laid down in Article 107ito 107k will apply, and in such cases the matter should be referred to the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC). Please refer to the Questions & Answers on urgent union procedures for further information.

3. Who can initiate an article 31 pharmacovigilance referral?

An Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral can be initiated by the competent authorities in the Member States (MSs), the European Commission (EC) or by the marketing authorisation holder(s).

The initiator of the procedure refers the matter to the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) by circulating a notification to the Agency, all MSs and the EC.

The notification will identify the safety concern and the question(s) referred to the PRAC for consideration. The notification will include a detailed explanation of the issue raised, and should address how the Union interests are involved.

The notification will be publicly available at the start of the procedure (please refer to Question 8).

4. Can a Member State take regulatory action during an article 31 pharmacovigilance referral?

A Member State (MS) may, where urgent action is necessary to protect public health, suspend the marketing authorisation at any stage of the procedure, and prohibit the use of the medicinal product(s) concerned on its territory until a definitive decision is adopted.

In this case, the MS informs the European Commission (EC), the Agency and all other MSs, no later than the following working day, of the reasons for its action.

5. Which medicinal products can be involved in an article 31 pharmacovigilance referral?

All products affected by the safety concern referred and with a valid marketing authorisation (MA) in the European Union will be included in the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral. This includes all products concerned by the safety issue, regardless of whether the MA was granted nationally (including via the mutual recognition and decentralised procedures) or via the centralised procedure. However, in case the safety issue concerns only centrally authorised medicinal products, the procedure under Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 726/20041 is initiated instead.

The referral procedure may concern a specific medicinal product, all medicinal products containing the same active substance (range of medicinal products) or all medicinal products belonging to the same therapeutic class (several active substances concerned).

The marketing authorisation holder(s) cannot choose whether or not to include their products in an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure. The inclusion of their products depends on the scope of the procedure.

References


1Please refer to the Questions & Answers on Article 20 Pharmacovigilance procedures.

6. How the product(s) are identified to be part of an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral? Rev. March 2015

The Agency and competent authorities of the Member States (MSs) within the European Economic Area (EEA) will identify the authorised products that are concerned by the procedure. All authorised products concerned are identified by using information from the Article 57 database. This will take place at the start of the procedure, and a draft list of the products identified will be publicly available on the Agency’s website on the specific procedure webpage (please refer to Question 8).

If after consultation with the MSs, it is concluded that the safety issue also concerns other product(s) (e.g. range of products, a therapeutic class) than the ones covered by the notification, the Agency can extend the scope of the procedure.

From a procedural view point, only those products identified at the start of the procedure will be covered by its scope. However, to the extent that other medicinal products affected by the scope but not identified at the start of the procedure are authorised in the EEA, or subject to future authorisations by the MSs, upon conclusion of the procedure, the concerned MSs should take due consideration of the scientific conclusions of the procedure and apply them to these products not initially included in the procedure.

7. What happens if the medicinal product involved is only approved in one Member State? Rev. March 2015

Upon receipt of the notification, the Agency, based on the information collected from Article 57 database, will liaise with the national competent authorities of the Member States (MSs) within the European Economic Area (EEA).

If after consultation with the MSs, it is concluded that the scope of the procedure concerns product(s) authorised in only one MS, an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure will not be initiated, and the safety concern will only be handled by the MS concerned.

8. When and how will an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral be announced? Rev. March 2015

A brief summary of the safety issue will be discussed at the upcoming Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) plenary meeting and will be included in the agenda published at the beginning of the PRAC meeting.

The start of the procedure will be announced as part of the PRAC meeting highlights, which will be published on the next working day following the PRAC meeting during which the matter is considered.

The announcement will specify the safety issue under consideration and will include the publication of the following documents on the Agency’s website on the specific procedure webpage:

  • notification triggering the procedure;
  • products listing including name of the medicinal products concerned /active substances and marketing authorisation holders;
  • list(s) of questions and timetable adopted by the PRAC; and
  • summary of the start of the procedure.
9. How will marketing authorisation holders be informed about the start of the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral? Rev. March 2015

The public announcement on the Agency’s website will include all information related to the start of procedure.

In addition, all qualified persons for pharmacovigilance (QPPV) of the medicinal product(s) concerned by the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral identified in the published products listing will be notified electronically (via e-mail/Eudralink) by the Agency. The notification to the QPPV on the procedure initiation will include:

  • the name and contact details of the Agency’s dedicated Procedure Manager who will be the contact point throughout the procedure and the name of the product-shared mailbox, which should always be copied in all correspondence with the Agency;
  • the pathway to the Agency’s web page where the relevant documentation is available.

The Agency may release updated information on the website during the procedure and therefore marketing authorisation holder(s) should continuously check the Agency’s website for any relevant updates (please refer to Question 29, Question 35 and Question 39).

10. Should marketing authorisation holders identify a contact person to communicate with the Agency during the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral? Rev. March 2015

The marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) will not need to designate a specific contact person for Pharmacovigilance referrals procedures. The qualified person for pharmacovigilance (QPPV) will, by default, be the contact person and will receive all correspondence from the Agency regarding the Article 31 pharmacovigilance procedure.

The QPPV may if they wish to, designate a different contact person for the procedure. In this case it must inform the procedure manager identified in the notification sent at the time of the procedure initiation.

All documentation concerning the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral will be sent to the contact person only.

Receipt of any documents by the contact person will be considered to constitute effective receipt by the MAH inter alia for the purposes of calculating the procedural timelines.

11. Can marketing authorisation holders group with other marketing authorisation holders involved in the procedure? Rev. March 2015

The marketing authorisation holders can form a group for the purpose of the procedure in order to provide a single consolidated response and/or oral clarifications to the questions raised by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) during the procedure. In this case the cover letter accompanying the single consolidated response and/or request for oral explanation should clearly identify the parties responsible for the submission/request.

12. What happens if centrally authorised products are involved in the procedure? Rev. March 2015

If a centrally authorised product is involved in an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral, the qualified person for pharmacovigilance (QPPV) will be notified by the Agency of the start of the procedure as will all other QPPV (please refer to Question 9). The announcement on the Agency’s website will also be linked to the EPAR page of the product.

13. Do marketing authorisation holders have to pay a fee? Rev. March 2015

The Agency will levy a fee for the assessment of a pharmacovigilance referral under Article 31 of Directive 2001/83/EC.

The total chargeable units in the procedure will be identified from the Article 57 database. The share payable by each marketing authorisation holder (MAH) will be calculated by the Agency. In this respect, an advice note will be sent at the start of procedure, to the relevant qualified person(s) for pharmacovigilance (QPPV) in order to ensure the accurate identification of the chargeable units for the products involved in the procedure. At the start of the procedure, the invoice will be sent to each MAH with the relevant chargeable units calculation. The fee will be due to the Agency within 30 calendar days from the date of the invoice.

For MAHs already qualified as a micro-, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) by the Agency, or those that will send a SME declaration in advance of the start date, or at least after 30 days of the invoice date, the fee will be reduced (small- or medium-sized enterprise) or waived (micro-sized enterprise).

The Agency will also publish further guidance on how the fees will be calculated and collected.

References

14. Who can submit data to be considered for this procedure? Rev. March 2015

The marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) concerned by an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure will be requested to submit information relevant for the assessment of the safety concern.

This is an opportunity given to the MAHs to present written or oral explanations to the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) within the time limit as specified in the procedure timetable, and before a recommendation is issued by the PRAC.

The announcement of the start of the procedure will include detailed information on how and when to submit data (please refer to Question 18 and Question 19).

Regardless of whether or not the MAHs present written or oral explanations to the PRAC, a recommendation will be issued by the PRAC in any case, applicable to all marketing authorisations concerned by the procedure.

15. How will data be gathered during the procedure? Rev. March 2015

The safety concern triggering the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral will be substantiated by additional data that could be requested by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) in the format of a list(s) of questions/list of outstanding issues, comments on the scientific background supporting the triggering of the procedure or by using data sources available to the Agency and/or to the national competent authorities (NCAs) of the Member States.

The additional data may be gathered from several different sources (i.e. from concerned marketing authorisation holders (MAHs), healthcare professionals, patients’ organisations, eudravigilance data, data available to the NCAs, etc).

The need for specific data to be collected is identified by the PRAC at the start of the procedure.

The data to be considered for the assessment will have to be submitted within the specified deadline as published in the announcement of the start of the procedure (please refer to Question 8).

Notwithstanding the above, the PRAC may in some specific cases also collect additional data through a further list of outstanding issues, public hearing and/or in an oral explanation in accordance with an extended timetable, which will be made publicly available (please refer to Question 21 and Question 23).

16. Who will perform the assessment?

The assessment of data within the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral is led by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC). At the start of the procedure, the PRAC appoints a PRAC rapporteur and PRAC co-rapporteur(s) who will perform the assessment of all data collected within the agreed timelines.

The assessment will result in the PRAC issuing a recommendation on the safety issue reviewed, which will be forwarded to the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) or to the Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh), as applicable (please refer to Question 32).

Even though the assessment of the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral will be performed by the PRAC, there will be a close collaboration between the PRAC rapporteurs and the CHMP rapporteur or the CMDh member with the leading role during the assessment.

17. How are the PRAC rapporteur and PRAC co-rapporteur appointed? Rev. March 2015

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) (co-)rapporteurs for an Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral should be appointed by the PRAC from amongst its members or alternates (hereafter referred to as PRAC members).

The PRAC will endeavour to apply the criteria of best available expertise to be taken into account for the appointment of the PRAC (co-)rapporteurs for each procedure.

In case of an Article 31 referral concerning several active substances belonging to the same therapeutic class, or where several issues are to be assessed, a lead rapporteur and several co-rapporteurs could be appointed.

References

During the assessment

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18. How shall I present my responses? Rev. March 2015

The announcement of the start of the procedure will specify the modalities for submission of data relevant to the procedure (e.g. responses to the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) list of questions, comments to the scientific background supporting the triggering of the procedure).

The marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) of products concerned by the procedure should submit their responses as follows:

  • The data should be presented in electronic format according to the electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD)/CTD format and accompanied by a signed cover letter and a written summary of each question.
  • The cover letter must make clear reference to the procedure number and the Agency’s Procedure Manager should always be put in copy.
  • The written summary answering each question should follow the numbering as per the published PRAC list of questions and PRAC list of outstanding issues (if applicable). Please note that supportive data to the responses submitted (e.g. study reports, literature data, risk management plan) are expected to be provided together with a summary of those data as per the modular structure of the CTD format.

Published data can be presented as supportive documentation in response to a specific question if no other data is available.

In case some questions (e.g. on a specific pharmaceutical form) are not applicable/relevant to all product(s) concerned by the procedure or to the product(s) of the represented group, the response should be stated as “not applicable” with a short explanation.

It should be noted that the responsibility for the quality of the submitted documentation lies with the MAHs and is crucial to the overall assessment. All submissions are expected to be submitted in English and electronically only (please refer to Question 19). Submission of responses concerning the Article 31 Pharmacovigilance referral with regards to centrally authorised products (CAPs) should follow the requirements for post-authorisation procedures for CAPs (e.g. submission via e-CTD).

In case MAHs formed a group (please refer to Question 11), the cover letter accompanying the single consolidated response and/or request for oral explanation should clearly identify the parties responsible for the submission/request.

19. How and to whom shall I submit my responses? Rev. March 2015

Within the given timeline as specified in the announcement of the procedure, the responses from the marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) should be submitted to the Agency via the Gateway as specified in dossier requirements for referral procedures or dossier requirements for centrally authorised products.

The Agency strongly recommends using the electronic submission channels (eSubmission Gateway or Web Client) and the electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD) or NeeS (Non-eCTD electronic Submission) formats for the submission of referrals.

All submissions for referral procedures for human medicinal products should be sent via the eSubmission Gateway or the Web Client. Since 1 November 2014, the Agency no longer accepts electronic submissions for referrals on CD or DVD.

For Referral submissions related to centrally authorised products, it is mandatory to use the eCTD format.

For all type of submissions responses should be presented in the modular format.

Recommended folder structure:


 

Documentation can be included in respective Modules following the CTD location as referenced in the above folder structure – e.g. as following:

 

Root folder should be 4 digits (between 0000-9999), e.g. Submission 0000 as below:


 

Any Working Documents (for example: documents in Word format) should be outside the root submission folder, e.g. as following: 


 

More information on the required naming conventions and file formats can be found in EMA eSubmission gateway: questions and answers relating to practical and technical aspects of the implementation and in the eSubmission gateway web client - Guidance for ppplicants. For more information please refer to eSubmission website. Submissions that are sent using the eSubmission Gateway and web client will receive an automated acknowledgement.

There is no need to send any separate paper cover letters for these submissions, as the cover letter will be in the relevant part of eCTD/CTD module 1 in PDF format.

For the number of copies and for a full overview of dossier requirements for the Agency, (co)-rapporteurs and Committee Members/Alternates and national competent authorities of (co) rapporteurs, including delivery addresses, please refer to dossier requirements for referral procedures or dossier requirements for centrally authorised products.

Should you have any questions regarding your submission, please contact us via email: referralsubmission@ema.europa.eu, for any technical issues contact esubmission@ema.europa.eu.

20. How will my data be assessed?

Submissions from the marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) concerned by the procedure are provided directly to the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) (co-) rapporteurs to be considered for the assessment.

All information gathered will be assessed within an agreed timeframe as published in the announcement of the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral. The assessment report(s) prepared by the PRAC (co-) rapporteur will reflect all data reviewed and considered for the assessment.

The PRAC (co-)rapporteur assessment report(s) will be circulated to the PRAC members for comments. These will also be shared with the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) (co-)rapporteur(s) (in case at least one centrally authorised product is included in the scope of the procedure) or with the Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) member with a leading role (in case the concerned products are only nationally authorised including via the mutual recognition and decentralised procedures) for comments.

21. What is the timetable for the assessment by the PRAC? Rev. March 2015

Please note that the timelines below are provided for guidance purposes only and refer to active days, which correspond to the time the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) takes to assess the data provided.

The timelines following a 60 days assessment period are as follows:

Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral – Timetable for the assessment

Day

Notification of a referral to the PRAC/Agency secretariat;

Day 0

 

Discussion at the first meeting of the PRAC following receipt of the notification:

  • Discussion of the question(s) referred and whether a public hearing, oral explanation(s) should be held,
  • Appointment of PRAC (co-)rapporteurs and
  • Adoption of the PRAC list of questions (LoQ) to be addressed by the marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) and timetable;

Day 1

Preparation and submission of written explanations by the MAH(s) in response to the PRAC list of questions

Clock Stop

Re-start of the procedure following submission of the responses in accordance with published submission dates

Clock re-start

 

Circulation of the PRAC (co-)rapporteurs’ assessment report(s) on the MAH(s)’ written responses;

Day 20

Comments in writing from PRAC members on the (co-) rapporteurs’ assessment reports;

Day 25

Discussion at the PRAC meeting:

  • Adoption of the PRAC recommendation , or adoption of PRAC list of outstanding issues (LoOI) to be answered in writing and/or in public hearing /non-public hearing, oral explanation and timetable for the rest of the procedure;

Day 30

Preparation and submission of written and/or oral explanations and/or public hearing/non-public hearing;

Clock Stop

Re-start of the procedure following submission of written explanations (in accordance with the published submission dates) or at the time of oral explanations and/or public hearing/non-public hearing;

Clock re-start

Day 31

Discussion at the PRAC meeting:

  • Adoption of the of PRAC recommendation

Day 60

The dates to be followed in accordance with the adopted timetable by the PRAC for each month can be found in the following link to timetables for referral procedures.

The PRAC may extend the time limit of 60 days up to 150 days (which will include a clock-stop) to allow for the assessment of further data provided as answers to the PRAC list of outstanding issues, oral explanation, public (and non-public) hearing or in case the PRAC requires input from a scientific advisory group or from an ad-hoc expert group to support the PRAC recommendation.

As a general rule, a clock-stop of up to one month will apply. For an extension of a clock-stop longer than the one adopted by the PRAC, the MAH should send a justified request to the Agency for agreement by the PRAC. The PRAC will consider the request during their next plenary meeting, and if agreed, an extended timetable may be adopted.All MAHs involved in the procedure, will be informed of the PRAC outcome.

The PRAC assessment of responses to the list of outstanding issues will take up to 30 or 60 days depending on the complexity and amount of data provided by the MAH(s).

22. Will I receive the PRAC (co-)rapporteur assessment report(s)? Rev. March 2015

All marketing authorisation holder(s) with products included in the scope of the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral will be provided with the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) (co-) rapporteur’s assessment report(s) electronically via email/Eudralink.

23. Will I have the possibility to present my views in front of the PRAC and how is this organised? Rev. March 2015

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) may decide whether there are issues that need to be addressed orally by the marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs). In such a case, the MAH(s) will be duly informed in advance of the issues to be addressed during an oral explanation.

The MAH(s) may also make a request to the PRAC to attend an oral explanation. In such a case, the MAH(s) should send a written request to the PRAC stating the reasons(s) and specifying the issue(s) to be addressed during the oral explanation. The PRAC will take due account of the request and will decide whether the oral explanation will be held.

Oral explanation(s) should take place during the assessment phase and after the receipt of the PRAC (co-) rapporteur’s assessment report(s). For further detailed information on organisational aspects of the oral explanation, see practical information on oral explanation for all referral procedures.

Exceptionally, an oral explanation may be held in front of the CHMP/CMDh, as applicable following the PRAC recommendation (please refer to Question 34).

The MAH(s) can provide the oral explanation on their own behalf or on behalf of the group of MAH(s) whom they represent.

Where the urgency of the matter permits, the PRAC may also hold public hearings, on justified grounds, particularly with regard to the extent and seriousness of the safety concern.

When the PRAC is of the opinion that a public hearing should be convened, the hearing shall be held in accordance with the modalities and rules specified by the Agency and will be announced on the Agency’s website. The announcement will also specify the modalities of the participation.

Where a MAH or another person intending to submit information has confidential data relevant to the subject matter of the procedure he may request permission to present that data to the PRAC in a non-public hearing.

A non-public hearing can only be held whenever a public hearing has been decided and agreed upon by the PRAC. When the MAH or another person requests a non-public hearing, this should be duly justified on the grounds of confidentiality of the data to be presented.

24. What should I do if my product is transferred to another marketing authorisation holder? Rev. March 2015

If the marketing authorisation (MA) for a nationally (including mutual recognition and decentralised) approved product, is transferred during the referral, the former marketing authorisation holder (MAH) should update Article 57 database and inform the procedure manager for the referral procedure. The Agency will then liaise with the national competent authority (NCA) of the Member State (MS) concerned.

Following confirmation by the NCA of the transfer of a MA, the Agency will inform the new MAH that they are included in the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral procedure and will inform the new qualified person for pharmacovigilance (QPPV)via email/Eudralink..

If during the procedure the MA for an approved centrally authorised product (CAP) is transferred, the former MAH should inform the Agency and the appropriate procedure should be followed (please refer to Transfer of marketing authorisation: questions and answers).

The products listing published at the start of the procedure (please refer to Question 8) will be updated accordingly and republished on the Agency’s website on the specific procedure webpage.

25. What should I do if the name of my product changes, if the name and/or address of the MAH changes or if my product is withdrawn? Rev. March 2015

If during the referral procedure, the name of a nationally (including mutual recognition and decentralised) approved product changes, or if the name and/or address of the marketing authorisation holder (MAH) changes or if the marketing authorisation is withdrawn, MAH should updated Article 57 database without delay.

If the Article 57 database is updated within the next 30 days following the start of the procedure, these changes will be included in the revised products listing that will be republished at day 30 following the start of the procedure. After day 30 the products listing will not be subject to any other changes except in case of transfer of a MA (please refer to Question 24).

If during the referral, the name of an approved centrally authorised product is changes, or if the name and/or address of the MAH changes or if the marketing authorisation is withdrawn, the MAH should inform the Agency and the appropriate procedure should be followed (please refer to Changing the (invented) name of a centrally authorised medicine: questions and answers and Withdrawn-product notification: questions and answers).

PRAC recommendation

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26. When will the PRAC recommendation be issued? Rev. March 2015

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) will issue a recommendation on the safety matter referred under Article 31 within 60 days of the start date of the procedure. The PRAC may extend that period up to 120 days, to take into account the views of the marketing authorisation holder(s), in case a public (and non-public) hearing is held or an ad-hoc expert/scientific advisory group (SAG) meeting is needed.

The PRAC recommendation will usually be adopted on the last day of the PRAC meeting.

27. What could be the outcome of the PRAC recommendation?

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation on the safety matter referred under Article 31 may be that the:

  1. marketing authorisation (MA) should be maintained or varied subject to certain conditions;
  2. MA should be suspended or revoked;

Where the recommendation is for the MA(s) to be varied, including changes or addition of information in the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) or the labelling or package leaflet (PL), the recommendation will include the suggested wording of such changes or added information and state where in the SmPC, labelling or PL such wording should be placed.

Where the PRAC recommends that the MA(s) should be subject to certain conditions, these can include, but are not limited to, requesting the marketing authorisation holder(s) to conduct a drug utilisation study and/or to implement other risk minimisation measures.

The PRAC recommendation can be adopted either by consensus or by majority vote. In the event of adoption by majority, the divergent positions of the concerned PRAC members and the grounds on which they are based will be appended to the recommendation issued by the PRAC.

References

28. How is the PRAC recommendation structured? Rev. March 2015

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation will include:

  • a cover page in which the recommendation adopted is outlined together with the voting outcome of the PRAC;
  • a products listing including name of the medicinal products concerned/active substances and marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) for all identified products approved nationally (including via the mutual recognition/decentralised procedures). In case centrally authorised products (CAPs) are involved their respective Annex A will be attached;
  • the scientific grounds and explanation for the PRAC recommendation;
  • the wording (in English only) to be included in the relevant sections of the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) or the labelling or package leaflet (PL), if applicable;
  • the conditions or restrictions imposed on the MAHs or Member States for the safe and effective use of the medicinal product, if applicable;
  • the PRAC members’ divergent views, in case the recommendation is adopted by majority;
  • Direct Healthcare Professional Communication (DHPC) and communication plan as agreed by PRAC (as relevant);
  • the PRAC assessment report on the evaluation performed and the conclusion of the PRAC that led to the adoption of the recommendation(s) based on all data gathered.
29. When is the PRAC recommendation published? Rev. March 2015

A brief outcome of the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation will be included in the PRAC meeting highlights that are released on the next working day following the PRAC plenary meeting together with a summary of the PRAC recommendation and a press release, as applicable.

The PRAC recommendation including the PRAC assessment report in English only, will be published on the Agency’s website (on the specific procedure webpage) together with the final outcome of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) as applicable, two weeks following the CHMP or CMDh plenary meetings during which the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement was adopted.

30. Will I receive the PRAC recommendation? Rev. March 2015

The marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) of products concerned and identified at the start of the procedure will receive the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation electronically via email/Eudralink during the week following the PRAC meeting when the recommendation was adopted.

The PRAC assessment report will be publicly available on the Agency’s website on the specific procedure webpage, the week following the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) plenary meetings during which the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement was adopted (please see, article 31 pharmacovigilance procedures’ webpage).

31. What happens after the PRAC recommendation?

A concerned marketing authorisation holder (MAH) may, within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation, notify the Agency in writing of its intention to request a re-examination of the PRAC recommendation.

After these 15 calendar days, if the MAH(s) have not requested a re-examination, the PRAC recommendation is considered final and is sent to the:

  • the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), if at least one centrally authorised product (CAP) is included in the procedure, for adoption of an opinion;
  • Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh), if only nationally including via mutual recognition and decentralised authorised products are included in the procedure, to reach a CMDh position/agreement;

The CHMP or CMDh will consider the PRAC recommendation at their following plenary meeting and will agree on the timeframe needed to issue a CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement. This timeframe should not exceed 30 days after receipt of the PRAC recommendation (please refer to Question 32).

In parallel, if you are one of many concerned MAH, you may also be contacted by the Agency with a proposal for worksharing of the translation process in all EU official languages (please refer to Question 37).

Re-examination

If within 15 days after the receipt of the PRAC recommendation, you have notified the Agency in writing of your intention to request a re-examination of the PRAC recommendation, the Agency will inform the PRAC and CHMP or CMDh, as applicable, of the letter of intent received.

The detailed grounds for the re-examination requested should be sent to the Agency within 60 calendar days of receipt of the PRAC recommendation. The detailed grounds submitted will determine the scope of the re-examination procedure and may encompass all aspects set out in the PRAC recommendation or only certain aspects of it. However, no new data can be presented at this stage of the procedure.

The re-examination procedure will only deal with the aspects of the PRAC recommendation identified by the MAH(s) in the detailed grounds for re-examination. The MAH(s) may request that the PRAC consults a scientific advisory group (SAG) or ad-hoc expert group during with the re-examination procedure. In such a case, this request should be made as early as possible, and should be no later than the submission date of the detailed grounds.

New (co-)rapporteurs will be appointed for the re-examination, and within 60 calendar days of receipt of the detailed grounds for re-examination, the PRAC will conclude its assessment of the detailed grounds and adopt a final recommendation.

The PRAC final recommendation following re-examination is sent to the CHMP or CMDh, as explained above.

CHMP opinion/CMDh position/agreement

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32. When will the CHMP issue an opinion/CMDh reach a position/agreement? Rev. March 2015

Following the receipt of the final Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) will consider the PRAC recommendation at their next plenary meeting. As a general rule, the aim will be to adopt the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement at the next plenary meeting following the receipt of the PRAC recommendation.

However in some cases, the CHMP or CMDh may agree on the need to further consider the PRAC recommendation. In such cases, the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement will be adopted within a maximum of 30 days after receipt of the PRAC recommendation.

This decision will be reflected in the CHMP or CMDh meeting highlights published on the next working day following the plenary meetings.

The overall process including timelines for adoption of an opinion/position/agreement is the following:

33. What is the basis of the CHMP opinion/ CMDh position/agreement? Rev. March 2015

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) will consider the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation and PRAC assessment report, and will adopt by consensus or by majority vote, a CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement on the maintenance, variation, suspension or revocation of the marketing authorisations (MAs) concerned (please refer to Question 27).

Exceptionally, an oral explanation may be held in front of the CHMP/CMDh should issues need to be addressed orally by the marketing authorisation holders (MAHs). The CHMP/CMDh decides whether the oral explanation will be held.

Where the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement differs from the recommendation of the PRAC, the CHMP or CMDh will attach to its opinion or position/agreement an explanation of the scientific grounds for the differences.

34. How is the CHMP opinion/CMDh position/agreement structured? Rev. March 2015

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) opinion or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) position/agreement will include:

  • a cover page in which the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement is outlined together with the voting outcome;
  • the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommendation and its assessment report;
  • the scientific grounds and explanation for the opinion or position/agreement including a detailed explanation for any differences with the PRAC recommendation;
  • the CHMP/CMDh members’ divergent views, in case of adoption by majority instead of consensus;
  • the products listing including name of the medicinal products concerned/active substances and marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) for all identified products approved nationally (including via the mutual recognition/decentralised procedures). In case centrally authorised products are involved their respective Annex A will be attached;
  • the wording (in English only) to be included in the relevant sections of the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) and/or the labelling and/or package leaflet (PL), if applicable (only for products approved nationally including via the mutual recognition/decentralised procedures);
  • the revised product information with agreed wording included in the relevant sections of the SmPC and/or the labelling and/or PL, if applicable (only for centrally authorised products);
  • the conditions or restrictions imposed to the marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) or Member States for the safe and effective use of the medicinal product, if applicable;
  • Direct Healthcare Professional Communication (DHPC) and communication plan as agreed by PRAC (as relevant).
35. When will the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement be published? Rev. March 2015

A brief outcome of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) opinion or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) position/agreement, as applicable, will be included in the meeting highlights that are released on the next working day following the plenary meetings, together with an EMA public health communication and a press release.

The CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement with the final assessment with all its annexes in all EU languages will be published on the Agency’s website (on the specific procedure webpage),within the first four weeks following the European Commission Decision or the adoption of the CMDh agreement (please refer to Question 39).

36. Will I receive the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement? NEW March 2015

The marketing authorisation holder(s) of products concerned and identified at the start of the procedure, will receive the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) opinion or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) position/agreement electronically via email/Eudralink during the week following the CHMP or CMDh plenary meetings during which the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement was adopted.

37. When do I have to submit translations?

The marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) of products approved nationally (including via the mutual recognition or decentralised procedures) will have to provide translations in all EU languages (including Icelandic and Norwegian, if applicable1) of the following annexes to the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) opinion or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) position/agreement:

  • products listing of nationally approved products (including via the mutual recognition/decentralised procedures) concerned by the procedure;
  • wording to be included in the relevant sections of the summary of product characteristics and/or the labelling and/or package leaflet, if applicable.

Only one translation per EU language is required, therefore the MAHs actively involved in the procedure will be presented with a proposal for worksharing for the translation process.

The Agency will contact the MAHs as early as possible to ensure the smooth running of the worksharing process. The translations will have to be provided to the Member States contact points for linguistic check by Day +5 (i.e. 5 days after adoption of the opinion or the position/agreement) and copied to the Agency.

The MAH(s) ofcentrally authorised products involved in the procedurewill have to provide the full product information in all EU languages within the same timeframe (i.e. 5 days after adoption of the opinion) and to the MSs contact points for linguistic check and copied to the Agency.

For detailed information on the translation process of the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement see, guidance for referral procedures.


1If authorised in Iceland and Norway

38. What happens after the CHMP opinion or CMDh position/agreement? Rev. March 2015

In case of a Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) opinion or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) position by majority vote, the Agency together with the concerned marketing authorisation holder(s) (MAHs) and national competent authorities (NCAs) in the Member States (MSs) will finalise the translations and send these to the European Commission (EC).

The EC will then start the decision-making process leading to the adoption of a binding decision addressed either to the MAHs or MSs, depending on whether the decision concerns centrally authorised products (CAPs) or nationally authorised products (including via the mutual recognition and decentralised procedures), respectively.

In case of CMDh agreement (i.e. consensus between MSs), the Agency together with the concerned MAHs and the NCAs in the MSs will finalise the translations. The agreement will be implemented by the MSs in accordance with the timetable determined in the agreement (please refer to Question 32).

For detailed information on the decision-making process see, decision making procedure for the adoption of Commission decisions.

The MAHs of CAPs need to submit within 5 days following the EC decision, an eCTD closing sequence of the final documents.

References

39. Will there be any publication in relation to the Article 31 pharmacovigilance referral after the Commission Decision and after consensus by CMDh?

Following the European Commission (EC) decision or Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures (CMDh) agreement, the Agency’s webpage of the specific procedure will be updated with the CHMP Opinion and CMDh position/agreement with the final assessment with all its annexes in all EU languages. The date of the EC decision or the CMDh agreement will be reflected, as applicable (please refer to Question 35).

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