Scrutiny of Accelerated Approval Continues as FDA Clamps Down

Scrutiny of the FDA’s accelerated approval process has shown no signs of slowing, with an FDA committee holding a recent meeting on the program’s use for oncology indications, as well as on two cancer drugs lacking confirmatory trial data long after their accelerated approvals. And an FDA leader recently asserted his stance on granting the designation only when companies already have started postmarketing trials. Still, these developments should not dampen interest by either manufacturers or payers in drugs hitting the market via the accelerated pathway, says one industry expert.

The FDA established the accelerated approval pathway in 1992 to bring HIV/AIDS medicines onto the market sooner during the ongoing epidemic. Between that time and Dec. 31, 2020, the agency has granted more than 253 accelerated approvals, according to a 2021 report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) examining the designation. Of those, 125 — 49.4% — later received full approval, with a median time of 3.2 years from accelerated approval to full. Sixteen — 6.3% — of the indications have been withdrawn, and the remaining 112 drugs have been on the market for a median of 1.9 years.

Angela Maas

Angela Maas

Angela has an extensive background of editing, reporting and writing for trade and consumer publications. She has written Radar on Specialty Pharmacy (formerly called Specialty Pharmacy News) since she joined AIS Health in 2005 and has broad knowledge of the various issues at play within the space. Before joining AIS Health, she was managing editor at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit News Canada and managing editor at HemAware (a hemophilia publication), Lupus Living and Momentum (a multiple sclerosis publication). She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in British literature from Arizona State University.

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