What is it? Why is it important?

In clinical studies Medicinal Products (MP) or Medical Devices (MD) are tested for safety and efficacy. When being tested in a study the therapeutic product under investigation is named the investigational MP or MD, thus IMP or IMD.


  • An IMP is an active ingredient or a placebo that has been pharmaceutically prepared and is being tested or used as a comparator
  • An IMD can be any instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, appliance, implant, reagent for in vitro use, software, material or other similar or related article to be used, alone or in combination. MDs are mainly used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes


IMP/IMD management includes:

  • Manufacturing
  • Transport
  • Storage
  • Labelling
  • Dispensation and use
  • Expiration
  • Destruction


Package inserts provide information about a MPs and its use, such as:

  • Owner, product name, its chemical and structural formula
  • Required storage conditions and expiration date
  • Efficacy and indication. How the product is supposed to be used and how it works
  • Contraindications where the product should not be used
  • Warnings of potential side effects, adverse reactions, drug abuse and dependence
  • Dosage and administration


For products that are not already on the market and lack a finalized package inserts, the Investigator Brochure (IB) might be the only available source of information.


Products considered MDs include:

  • Disinfectant substances
  • Aids for persons with disabilities
  • Devices incorporating animal and/or human tissues
  • Devices for in vitro fertilization or assisted reproduction technologies

What do I need to do?

As a SP-INV, ensure that the IMP/IMD used in your study follows:

  • Applicable manufacturing guidelines, including any placebo product
  • Required transport guidelines (e.g. control over manufacturer / importer distribution chain, correct packaging and transport temperature)
  • Correct storage requirements (e.g. access control, applicable temperature-, light-, humidity conditions)
  • Regulatory labelling requirements (e.g. language, dosage, contact, coding to protect blinding)
  • Expiration information guidelines to guarantee for product stability and quality
  • Correct destruction procedures


The Site-INV is responsible for the correct IMP/IMD handling at the study site. This includes:

  • Instructions on actions to take when defined storage conditions are no longer met.
  • Applicable emergency processes to implement in order to guarantee the ongoing stability and quality of the investigational product
  • The set-up of an IMP/IMD tracking system in order to retrace its use by study participants (e.g. drug-accountability-log)


The SP-INV provides the site with written instructions regarding the correct handling and storage of IMP/IMD.


Where can I get help?

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


ICH GCP E6(R2) – see in particular guidelines

  • 1.33 Investigational product
  • 1.36 Investigator’s Brochure
  • 5.13 Manufacturing, packaging, labelling, and coding investigational product(s)
  • 5.14 Supplying and handling Investigational product(s)
  • 7 Investigator's Brochure


ISO 14155:2020 Medical devices (access liable to cost) - see in particular sections

  • 6.5 Investigators brochure
  • 6.10.1 Labelling
  • 7.9 Investigational device accountability
  • Annex B Investigators brochure


GDP 2013 – see in particular

  • Good distribution practices of medicinal products


EU GMP Annex 13 - see in particular guidance

  • Guidance on good manufacturing and distribution practices


EudraLex Volume 4 EU - see in particular annex

  • Annex 13, Good IMP manufacturing practice
  • CTU – Clinical Trials Unit
  • EMA – European Medicines Agency
  • EU – European Union
  • GDP – Good Distribution Practices
  • GMP – Good Manufacturing Practices
  • IB – Investigator Brochure
  • ICH GCP – International Council for Harmonisation Good Clinical Practice
  • IMD – Investigational Medical Device
  • IMP – Investigational Medicinal Product
  • ISO – International Organization for Standardization
  • MD – Medical Device
  • MP – Medicinal Product
  • Site-INV – Site-Investigator
  • SP-INV – Sponsor-Investigator
Set-Up ↦ Management ↦ Investigational Product ↦ Definition and Handling

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): Set-Up ↦ Management ↦ Investigational Product ↦ Definition and Handling

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