Jul 16, 2012

Waiting for the new drug to be approved…

Not all clinical trials end with a successful drug or treatment being approved by the FDA. But when the trial is successful we want the new drug to be available today—if not sooner. It seems like it takes forever for the FDA to review and finally approve a drug, especially if it’s one that might benefit us.

In a study recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine, two researchers from the Yale School of Medicine studied the average time from clinical trial to approval by the FDA in the U.S., the European Medical Agency (EMA), and Health Canada between 2001 and 2010.

Although the average approval time still may seem long, the FDA approval time was more than two months faster than the EMA and more than three months faster than Health Canada.

Average drug approval times:
FDA                            322 days
EMA                           366 days
Health Canada         393 days

Approval agencies around the world are always under pressure to approve potentially successful drugs as soon as possible and many approvals are done in less time than the averages shown here. It is worth noting also that a long approval time may mean that the study results are not as clear cut as it seems and the FDA needs to ask more questions. The other side of the coin, of course, is when a drug may be approved too quickly and then have to be recalled because of risks and problems not known at the time of approval.

To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.
To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.
(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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