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The FDA grants marketing approval for certain types of medical products whose application is the result of foreign clinical studies, provided the products and the clinical studies meet certain conditions. The types of medical products
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that are permitted under this system of foreign clinical studies include:
The guidelines under which the FDA accepts medical products for approval when they are the result of foreign clinical studies are spelt out in various sections of 21 CFR.
Any foreign clinical study has to be meet requirements of 21 CFR Part 312or 21 CFR Part 812, which relate to studies conducted under an Investigational New Drug Application (NDA) or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) respectively, just the same way in which American companies too have to
In case a foreign clinical study is not conducted under an IND; the FDA will still accept it, so long as it fulfills the ethical principles set out in the Declaration of Helsinki, or is in accordance with the laws of the respective country from which the study originates, based on whichever of these two offers stronger protection of the subjects of the study.
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The World Medical Association adapted the Helsinki Declaration from the time it was passed in 1964. In 1975, given the popularity of the Declaration in guaranteeing humane protection of human subjects in a clinical study; the FDA adapted the principles of the Helsinki Declaration as the basis for accepting non-IND compliant drugs. This Declaration has been revised a few times, although the FDA is yet to include the latest of these, that of October 2000, into its regulations.