FDA Takes Additional Steps to Advance Decentralized Clinical Trials


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is leading the charge in transforming the landscape of clinical trials. With their recent release of a draft guidance, the FDA is actively supporting decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) for drugs, biologics, and devices. This exciting development aims to advance medical product development and research while improving accessibility and diversity in clinical trial participation.

What are decentralized clinical trials?

Decentralized clinical trials involve conducting trial-related activities at locations other than traditional clinical trial sites. This approach introduces a shift towards flexibility and convenience, enabling participants to engage in trial activities from the comfort of their own homes or other convenient locations. Examples of decentralized elements include home healthcare and telemedicine services.

Advantages of DCTs

By decentralizing clinical trials, the FDA expects to overcome barriers that hinder participation, ultimately leading to broader and more diverse participant pools. Individuals with rare diseases or mobility challenges stand to benefit greatly from this approach. DCTs offer the opportunity to involve a wider range of participants, facilitating the development of treatment options in areas of medical need. Ultimately, this revolution in clinical trials aims to improve patient outcomes and drive medical innovation forward.

Building upon Previous Recommendations

The FDA’s draft guidance on DCTs builds upon their recommendations issued in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this public health emergency, the FDA recognized the need for trial decentralization to mitigate disruptions caused by quarantines, site closures, and travel limitations. The positive outcomes and lessons learned from that experience have laid the foundation for further advancement in the field of decentralized clinical trials.


The FDA’s unwavering support for decentralized clinical trials is set to revolutionize medical research and product development. By embracing this innovative approach, we can expect increased accessibility, diversity, and convenience in clinical trial participation. Ultimately, this will lead to the development of more treatment options and improved patient outcomes, particularly for those facing rare diseases or mobility challenges. The FDA’s latest draft guidance is a significant step towards fostering innovation in the realm of clinical trials and paving the way for a brighter future in medical research.

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