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    Industry lauds PDUFA VII focus on innovation, transparency

    Trade associations in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields have weighed in on the performance goals FDA has outlined for the upcoming reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA VII), taking a generally favorable view of planned initiatives and areas of focus.   “The PDUFA VII agreement released today is an important step forward to continue to support patient safety, maintain the FDA’s high standards of independent regulatory review and promote...
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    FDA: No plans yet to resume onsite GMP foreign inspections

    An official with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the agency has no plans to resume onsite foreign inspections for operations that are not deemed “mission critical” during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Instead, the agency is relying on the expanded use of mutual recognition agreements as an alternative tool for boots-on-the-ground inspections.   So asserted Alonza Cruse, the director of pharmaceutical quality operations in FDA’s Office of Regulato...
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    FDA-registered sites declined in 2020: OPQ drug quality report

    A new report from the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ) shows a small drop overall in drug manufacturing sites and a shift toward pandemic-related priorities in FY 2020.   The OPQ report on the state of pharmaceutical quality for FY 2020 notes that drug manufacturing sites included in FDA’s site catalog declined by just over 1% in FY 2020 to 4,221. Medical gas manufacturers are excluded from this figure, as are the crop ...
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    FDA’s regulatory affairs head previews Inspectional Affairs Council

    The top regulatory affairs official at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave a preview of a soon-to-be-launched council within the agency that will focus solely on inspection-related matters.   “We will soon stand up an agency-wide decision-making body; it’s called the FDA Inspectional Affairs Council,” said Judith McMeekin, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs within the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), speaking at a virtual webinar hosted W...
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    Woodcock calls for investigation into Aduhelm approval

    The US Food and Drug Administration’s acting head has called on the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an investigation into matters related to the agency’s recent controversial approval of Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm (aducanumab).   Janet Woodcock, acting director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to Twitter early Friday afternoon to make the announcement, sharing the letter she sent to Christ...
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    FDA gives generics updates at DIA town hall

    Officials at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addressed plans to prioritize on-site inspections and gave updates regarding certain new drug applications during a generics-focused virtual town hall convened by the Drug Information Association (DIA) as part of its virtual annual meeting. During the session, regulators also shared post-pandemic learnings, including the importance of international collaborations for generic drug development.   The session inclu...
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    Pharmaceutical officials propose new USP harmonized chapter on visual inspections

    Pharmaceutical industry officials have proposed the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) develop a new harmonized chapter on visual inspections of parenteral drugs that would address current testing gaps. This chapter would be developed with input from the European Pharmacopeia and the Japanese Pharmacopeia. Such a chapter would allow for more robust detection of visible particles in these drugs, which is a common reason for reason for recalls and warning letters in the US,...
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    GAO outlines priority recommendations for FDA

    In a report to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published on Thursday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlines five priorities for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address to meet its public health mission.   In the report, addressed to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, GAO calls for Becerra’s personal attention in addressing 61 open priority recommendations for the department and its sub agencies, 43 of which are holdovers from las...
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    Cavazzoni paints CDER's post-pandemic future

    During an hour-long session at the annual meeting of the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), the director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (FDA’s CDER) went beyond a recap of the prior year’s challenges and wins, looking ahead to what CDER’s post-pandemic future will look like.   Summing up what she termed the “gestalt of the last 18 months,” CDER Director Patrizia Cavazzoni highlighted progress and trends in staffing, drug development and inspections t...
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    FDA clarifies potential actions when onsite inspections are infeasible

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 17 May revised its question-and-answer guidance on inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic to clarify the regulatory actions it plans to take when it cannot conduct an onsite inspection of a facility.   FDA announced that while the pandemic continues to restrict onsite inspections, the agency “intends to continue using alternative tools to evaluate facilities.” FDA continues to conduct onsite inspections for those products ...
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    Regulators discuss expectations and challenges in conducting virtual inspections

    Regulators from the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency gave an update on desktop and virtual inspections and offered some advice on ensuring smoother audits at a 28 April webinar.   While there seemed to be acceptance among regulators that virtual and desktop inspections are a reality until the COVID-19 public health emergency is over, a larger group of health officials at the webinar said that onsite inspections are much better at uncove...
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    COVID test EUAs updated with pooled serial testing option

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken steps to make it easier to pool test samples for many molecular diagnostic tests for SAR-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.   The agency’s amendment to many test emergency use authorizations (EUAs) now allows sample pooling to screen asymptomatic individuals when the testing is performed at least once weekly as part of a screening strategy.   “Pooling, the process of combining multiple specimens together to mo...