What is the role of Congress on Drug Approval and Patient Access

Posted by: Christine McSherry on January 24, 2013



(a) Findings; Sense of Congress-

(1) FINDINGS- Congress finds as follows:

(A) The Food and Drug Administration (referred to in this section as the ‘FDA’) serves a critical role in helping to assure that new medicines are safe and effective. Regulatory innovation is 1 element of the Nation’s strategy to address serious and life-threatening diseases or conditions by promoting investment in and development of innovative treatments for unmet medical needs.

(B) During the 2 decades following the establishment of the accelerated approval mechanism, advances in medical sciences, including genomics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, have provided an unprecedented understanding of the underlying biological mechanism and pathogenesis of disease. A new generation of modern, targeted medicines is under development to treat serious and life-threatening diseases, some applying drug development strategies based on biomarkers or pharmacogenomics, predictive toxicology, clinical trial enrichment techniques, and novel clinical trial designs, such as adaptive clinical trials.

(C) As a result of these remarkable scientific and medical advances, the FDA should be encouraged to implement more broadly effective processes for the expedited development and review of innovative new medicines intended to address unmet medical needs for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions, including those for rare diseases or conditions, using a broad range of surrogate or clinical endpoints and modern scientific tools earlier in the drug development cycle when appropriate. This may result in fewer, smaller, or shorter clinical trials for the intended patient population or targeted subpopulation without compromising or altering the high standards of the FDA for the approval of drugs.

(D) Patients benefit from expedited access to safe and effective innovative therapies to treat unmet medical needs for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions.

(E) For these reasons, the statutory authority in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act governing expedited approval of drugs for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions should be amended in order to enhance the authority of the FDA to consider appropriate scientific data, methods, and tools, and to expedite development and access to novel treatments for patients with a broad range of serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions.

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