What is it? Why is it important?

Once the Ethics Committee (EC) has assessed the application dossier:

  • The study is given a unique ID (a BASEC-ID number)
  • An order is issued conveying EC decision. In general, the decision states that study conduct is:
    • Granted: The study can start
    • Granted with conditions Changes or adaptations must be fulfilled within 30 days
    • Not granted: If resubmitted, the EC will consider the dossier as a new submission (e.g. the original BASEC ID is retained)


The EC order also includes:

  • Additional information regarding pending tasks
  • A summary of submitted documents. EC approval only applies to those documents that were submitted in the application dossier


The EC might also forward a list of outstanding questions to the SP-INV, which includes:

  • An order stating the decision of the EC
  • A list of pending questions
  • A separate document where any relevant questions & answers are entered (Word table)

What do I need to do?

In the event, approval was granted based on conditions:

  • As a SP-INV ensure to correctly answer all EC question(s)
  • If applicable, provide additional documents or make requested adaptations
  • Report back within the deadline (30 days)


Once the study has been fully approved ensure that:

  • The EC-identifier-number is included during subsequent EC correspondence 
  • A robust document tracking system is in place, to ensure that only EC approved documents are used in the study (e.g. document management)
  • Any changes to EC approved documents are re-submitted for EC approval prior to implementation


Some studies also require Swissmedic / FOPH approval. Consequently, wait for all required approvals before starting the study.


In the event the EC requires you to answer some questions:

  • Write a cover letter
  • Complete the question & answer table
  • Make required changes or adaptations to relevant study documents (e.g. both in track-changes and clean version)
  • Create and include any additionally requested documents
  • Access BASEC (e.g. EC submission portal) to submit your updated application dossier

File all correspondence with EC, including the order of approval in the TMF, and if applicable in the local ISF.

Where can I get help?

Your local CTU can support you with experienced staff regarding this topic

External Links

Swissethics – see in particular

  • BASEC: the EC submission portal

Swiss Law

HRA – see in particular articles

  • Art. 32 Further use of biological material and data
  • Art. 33 Further use of non-genetic HRpD
  • Art. 34 Absence of IC
  • Art. 36 Consent deseased persons
  • Art. 37 Additional requirements for deceased persons
  • Art. 39-40 Requirements for embryos and foetuses
  • Art. 47 Responsible EC

ClinO – see in particular articles

  • Art. 23 Coordination in authorisation procedures
  • Art. 25 Review areas
  • Art. 26 Procedures and deadlines

ClinO-MD – see in particular articles

  • Art. 9 Information and coordination for approval procedures
  • Art. 11 Review areas
  • Art. 12 Procedures and deadlines

HRO – see in particular articles

  • Art. 15 Review areas
  • Art. 16 Procedure and deadlines
  • Art. 34 Review areas for project involving further use of data or biological material
  • Art. 37 Review areas for project involving further use of data or biological material in the absence of IC
  • Art. 41 Review areas for project involving deceased persons
  • Art. 45 Review areas for project involving embryos and foetuses
  • BASEC – Business Administration System for Ethics Committees
  • ClinO – Clinical Trials Ordinance
  • ClinO-MD – Ordinance on Clinical Trials with Medical Devices
  • CTU – Clinical Trials Unit
  • EC – Ethics Committee
  • FOPH – Federal Office of Public Health
  • IC – Informed Consent
  • ISF – Investigator Site File
  • HRA – Human Research Act
  • HRO – Human Research Ordinance
  • HRpD – Health Related Personal Data
  • SP-INV – Sponsor Investigator
  • TMF – Trial Master File
Development ↦ Ethics and Laws ↦ Ethics Application ↦ Approval

Provides some background knowledge and basic definitions

Basic Monitoring
Basic Drug or Device

Starts with a study idea

Ends after having assessed and evaluated study feasibility

Concept Drug or Device

Starts with confidence that the study is feasible

Ends after having received ethics and regulatory approval

Development Drug or Device

Starts with ethics and regulatory approval

Ends after successful study initiation

Set-Up Ethics and Laws
Set-Up Quality and Risk
Set-Up Drug or Device

Starts with participant recruitment

Ends after the last participant has completed the last study visit

Conduct Drug or Device

Starts with last study visit completed

Ends after study publication and archiving

Completion Statistics
Completion Drug or Device
Current Path (click to copy): Development ↦ Ethics and Laws ↦ Ethics Application ↦ Approval

Please note: the Easy-GCS tool is currently under construction.