What is the FDA drug approval process?


What is the FDA drug approval process?

FDA Drug-Approval Process. A pharmaceutical company seeking FDA approval to sell a new prescription drug must complete a five-step process: discovery/concept, preclinical research, clinical research, FDA review and FDA post-market safety monitoring.

FDA Approval: What it means?

FDA approval of a drug means that data on the drug’s effects have been reviewed by CDER, and the drug is determined to provide benefits that outweigh its known and potential risks for the intended population. The drug approval process takes place within a structured framework that includes

  1. Analysis of the target condition and available treatments—FDA reviewers analyze the condition or illness for which the drug is intended and evaluate the current treatment landscape, which provide the context for weighing the drug’s risks and benefits. For example, a drug intended to treat patients with a life-threatening disease for which no other therapy exists may be considered to have benefits that outweigh the risks even if those risks would be considered unacceptable for a condition that is not life threatening.
  2. Assessment of benefits and risks from clinical data—FDA reviewers evaluate clinical benefit and risk information submitted by the drug maker, taking into account any uncertainties that may result from imperfect or incomplete data. Generally, the agency expects that the drug maker will submit results from two well-designed clinical trials, to be sure that the findings from the first trial are not the result of chance or bias. In certain cases, especially if the disease is rare and multiple trials may not be feasible, convincing evidence from one clinical trial may be enough. Evidence that the drug will benefit the target population should outweigh any risks and uncertainties.
  3. Strategies for managing risks—All drugs have risks. Risk management strategies include an FDA-approved drug label, which clearly describes the drug’s benefits and risks, and how the risks can be detected and managed. Sometimes, more effort is needed to manage risks. In these cases, a drug maker may need to implement a Risk Management and Mitigation Strategy (REMS).

Although many of the FDA’s risk-benefit assessments and decisions are straightforward, sometimes the benefits and risks are uncertain and may be difficult to interpret or predict. The agency and the drug maker may reach different conclusions after analyzing the same data, or there may be differences of opinion among members of the FDA’s review team. As a science-led organization, FDA uses the best scientific and technological information available to make decisions through a deliberative process.

Accelerated Approval

In some cases, the approval of a new drug is expedited. Accelerated Approval can be applied to promising therapies that treat a serious or life-threatening condition and provide therapeutic benefit over available therapies. This approach allows for the approval of a drug that demonstrates an effect on a “surrogate endpoint” that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that occurs earlier but may not be as robust as the standard endpoint used for approval. This approval pathway is especially useful when the drug is meant to treat a disease whose course is long, and an extended period of time is needed to measure its effect. After the drug enters the market, the drug maker is required to conduct post-marketing clinical trials to verify and describe the drug’s benefit. If further trials fail to verify the predicted clinical benefit, FDA may withdraw approval.

Since the Accelerated Approval pathway was established in 1992, many drugs that treat life-threatening diseases have successfully been brought to market this way and have made a significant impact on disease course. For example, many antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS entered the market via accelerated approval, and subsequently altered the treatment paradigm. A number of targeted cancer-fighting drugs also have come onto the market through this pathway.When studying a new drug, it can sometimes take many years to learn whether a drug actually provides a real effect on how a patient survives, feels, or functions. A positive therapeutic effect that is clinically meaningful in the context of a given disease is known as “clinical benefit”. Mindful of the fact that it may take an extended period of time to measure a drug’s intended clinical benefit, in 1992 FDA instituted the Accelerated Approval regulations. These regulations allowed drugs for serious conditions that filled an unmet medical need to be approved based on a surrogate endpoint. Using a surrogate endpoint enabled the FDA to approve these drugs faster.

In 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovations Act (FDASIA). Section 901 of FDASIA amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) to allow the FDA to base accelerated approval for drugs for serious conditions that fill an unmet medical need on whether the drug has an effect on a surrogate or an intermediate clinical endpoint.

A surrogate endpoint used for accelerated approval is a marker – a laboratory measurement, radiographic image, physical sign or other measure that is thought to predict clinical benefit, but is not itself a measure of clinical benefit. Likewise, an intermediate clinical endpoint is a measure of a therapeutic effect that is considered reasonably likely to predict the clinical benefit of a drug, such as an effect on irreversible morbidity and mortality (IMM).

The FDA bases its decision on whether to accept the proposed surrogate or intermediate clinical endpoint on the scientific support for that endpoint. Studies that demonstrate a drug’s effect on a surrogate or intermediate clinical endpoint must be “adequate and well controlled” as required by the FD&C Act.

Using surrogate or intermediate clinical endpoints can save valuable time in the drug approval process. For example, instead of having to wait to learn if a drug actually extends survival for cancer patients, the FDA may approve a drug based on evidence that the drug shrinks tumors, because tumor shrinkage is considered reasonably likely to predict a real clinical benefit. In this example, an approval based upon tumor shrinkage can occur far sooner than waiting to learn whether patients actually lived longer. The drug company will still need to conduct studies to confirm that tumor shrinkage actually predicts that patients will live longer. These studies are known as phase 4 confirmatory trials.

Where confirmatory trials verify clinical benefit, FDA will generally terminate the requirement. Approval of a drug may be withdrawn or the labeled indication of the drug changedif trials fail to verify clinical benefit or do not demonstrate sufficient clinical benefit to justify the risks associated with the drug (e.g., show a significantly smaller magnitude or duration of benefit than was anticipated based on the observed effect on the surrogate).


What is the FDA drug approval process?
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What is the FDA drug approval process?
FDA Drug-Approval Process. A pharmaceutical company seeking FDA approval to sell a new prescription drug must complete a five-step process: discovery/concept, preclinical research, clinical research, FDA review and FDA post-market safety monitoring.
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Plianced Inc.
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