Background: The number of new noncommercial clinical studies conducted in Japan declined within the first year of the implementation of the Clinical Trials Act (CTA) on April 1, 2018. This study aimed to examine the impact of the CTA’s enforcement on the number of new noncommercial clinical studies registered in the Japanese Clinical Trial Registry.
Methods: An interrupted time-series design was used in the analysis, which was conducted from April 2015 to March 2019. We collected data for studies registered in the Clinical Trial Registry, managed by the University Hospital Medical Information Network.
Results: In total, 35,811 studies were registered; of these, 16,455 fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The difference in the trend of monthly number of new studies after CTA enforcement decreased significantly by 15.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], −18.7 to −11.3), and the level decreased by 40.8 (95% CI, −68.2 to −13.3) studies from the pre-enforcement to the post-enforcement period. Multigroup analyses indicated that the act exerted a significant effect on the trend of new clinical studies, particularly those with smaller sample sizes, interventional study designs, and nonprofit funding sponsors.
Conclusions: The number of Japanese noncommercial clinical studies declined significantly following implementation of the CTA. It is necessary to establish a system to promote clinical studies in Japan while ensuring transparency and safety.