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  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    Studies Raise New Concerns Over FDA's Expedited Approval Designations, Supplemental Indications

    An increasing number of newly-approved drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been associated with expedited development or review programs, though many of these approved drugs are not first in class and potentially less innovative, according to two new studies published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Background Under the standard regulatory review process, FDA has 10 months to review a potential new drug's safety and efficacy based on a company'...
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    Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduces Bill to Speed Development of Rare Disease Drugs

    A new bipartisan bill aims to help accelerate the development of targeted drugs to treat rare diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, some cancers and other genetic diseases. Although it's unclear how exactly the bill will aid in the development of targeted rare disease treatments, one of the cosponsors, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), said the bill would clarify the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current authority to consider resear...
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    EMA Wants to Help Drugmakers Show Their Orphan Products' Benefits

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is looking help sponsors developing new orphan drugs by clearing up questions on how they can demonstrate their product's improvement over existing therapies. To do so, the agency will be hosting a workshop on 7 December 2015, where it says industry, regulators, health technology assessment (HTA) bodies and other groups will have the opportunity to discuss approaches to demonstrating "significant benefit" for orphan products. Orphan D...
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    New FDA Guidance Addresses Common Issues in Orphan Drug Development

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a draft guidance intended to help drugmakers tackle common issues encountered in the development of drugs to treat rare diseases. Background In the US, orphan drugs, or drugs used to treat rare diseases which affect fewer than 200,000 people, are given incentives, such as a longer period of marketing exclusivity, tax credits and user fee waivers. These incentives were first instituted with the passage of the 1983 ...
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    Japan Edges out FDA for Fastest Approvals

    In 2014, Japan's regulator, the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) edged out the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the world's fastest regulator, with a median approval time of 306 days for new active substances (NASs). New Drug Approvals in ICH Countries A new report by the Centre for Innovation in Regulatory Science (CIRS), New Drug Approvals in ICH Countries 2005-2014 , examines NAS approvals in the US, EU and Japan. The report finds that FD...
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    Public Health Groups Propose Global Drug Innovation Fund

    Two health advocacy groups, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) are urging public health authorities to create a global fund to tackle what they call "deadly gaps in innovation." Citing the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), emerging infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the two organizations say the pharmaceutical industry is failing to address certain public health challenges. Back...
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    FDA Exercising 'Extraordinary' Flexibility on Drugs for Rare Diseases, New Study Finds

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a reasonable regulator. That's the conclusion of a new analysis looking at the measures taken by FDA to review and approve new drugs intended for use in rare diseases affecting small populations of patients. Background The root of this "reasonable" argument starts with a law intended to facilitate the development of new therapies for patients with rare diseases. Under the 1983 Orphan Drug Act , a rare disease is one which a...
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    Australia Wants Input on Orphan Drugs Program as it Conducts Review

    Regulators in Australia today released a discussion paper intended to solicit comments on its orphan drugs program, in light of changes in the landscape for rare diseases since the program's inception in 1997. Orphan Drugs Regulation in Australia Orphan drugs are products intended to treat, diagnose or prevent rare diseases. Because the potential treatment populations for these drugs are small, regulators often offer incentives to encourage the development of treatments...
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    EMA in 2014: A Landmark Year for Approvals, With Eyes on the Future

    In the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Annual Report 2014 , top regulatory officials describe the agency's role as both a "gatekeeper" and "enabler." This dual role means that the agency must not only work to ensure the safety of patients in the EU, but also to facilitate the development of new and innovative therapies. By the Numbers 2014 was a landmark year for EMA in many ways. The agency recommended record numbers of products to treat rare diseases , launched it...
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    EMA Says Companies Still Need to Report Side Effects of Donated Drugs

    Drug makers are frequently involved in relief and humanitarian aid efforts, often through donating their products. However, in light of recent outbreaks of neglected tropical diseases such as Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) has asked the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to clarify its drug safety monitoring requirements for companies that donate medicines outside the EU to treat neglected tropical diseases. According to WHO, neglected tropical diseases are a...
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    EU Court Rules on Orphan Product Exclusivity

    A European Court has issued a ruling in an unlikely scenario dealing with overlapping periods of orphan product market exclusivity. In its ruling, which has the potential to influence how companies develop orphan products, the court found that authorized orphan products are entitled to market exclusivity, even when they are similar to an already approved product. Background Orphan product designation was first introduced in the EU in 2000 under Regulation (EC) No 141...
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    Rare Disease Patient Group Commends EMA, Wants EU-Wide Access to Treatment

    A rare disease advocacy network has applauded the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) efforts to incentivize the development of treatments for rare diseases , but says  the variance in treatment access across the EU is “unacceptable.” In an interview with EurActiv , Terkel Andersen, president of the advocacy group EURODIS, said that EMA and the European Commission (EC) are “doing their utmost to try to make rare diseases ‘attractive’ for the pharmaceutical industry.” ...