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BACKGROUND: The new European Medicines Agency (EMA) Clinical Trials Information System (CTIS), based on the Clinical Trials Regulation (CTR EU 536/2014), came into full effect on 31 January 2022 and was intended to provide an easier, more streamlined approach to the registration of clinical trials taking place in Europe. Using the experience gained on the new regulatory framework from three multi-national European clinical research studies of outbreak-prone infectious diseases, this article describes the advantages and shortcomings of the new clinical trial submission procedure. METHODS: We report the time to approval, size of the application dossier, and number of requests for information (RFIs) for each study. We also explore the experience of each study within the regulatory framework and its use of CTIS to document the real-world, practical consequences of the system on individual studies. The study assesses the experience of three multi-country studies conducted in Europe working within the EU and non-EU regulatory environments. RESULTS: While the time to regulatory and ethical approval has improved since the implementation of the new regulation, the timelines for approvals are still unacceptably slow, particularly for studies being conducted in the context of an evolving outbreak. Within the new regulatory approval procedure, there is evidence of conflicting application requirements, increased document burden, barriers to submitting important modifications, and debilitating technical hurdles. CONCLUSIONS: CTIS promised to lower the administrative bar, but unfortunately this has not been achieved. There are challenges that need to be urgently confronted and addressed for international research collaborators to effectively manage health crises in the future. While the value of multi-national outbreak research is clear, the limitations and delays imposed by the system, which raise challenging ethical questions about the regulation, are prejudicial to all clinical research, especially publicly funded academic studies. This report is relevant to both regulators and clinical researchers. It is hoped that these findings can help improve pan-European clinical trials, especially for the purpose of epidemic preparedness and response. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This paper references experiences gained during management of three pan-European trials: EU-SolidAct's Bari-SolidAct (CT No. 2022-500385-99-00 - 15 March 2022) and AXL-SolidAct (CT No. 2022-500363-12-00 - 19 April 2022), and MOSAIC (CT No. 2022-501132-42-00 - 22 June 2022).

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Clinical trial, Epidemics, Government regulation, Multicenter trials, Pandemics