PHARMACY

FDA approval practices under fire from new study

BY Diana Alickaj

A new study has suggested that a significant percentage of last-minute drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration have resulted in drugs being quickly withdrawn or given a black-box warning.

The study was conducted by Daniel Carpenter, a professor of government at Harvard University, and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, citing the link between unsafe drugs and the FDA’s last-minute approval of them.

According to published reports, the study explained that since 1993, out of the 97 drugs that were approved near the FDA’s deadline to review the drugs, 14 percent of the drugs experienced severe safety issues soon after. Also, out of 21 withdrawals and black-box warnings for drugs approved since 1993, 14 were drugs that were approved 2 months before the deadline. Also included in the statistic are Baycol, Viozz and Rezulin, which were approved in the last three days but all were withdrawn because of such severe safety problems as muscle damage, heart attack and stroke.

This issue stems from an ongoing debate about the FDA’s rapid approval for drugs which, in effect, may do more damage to patients then good if not carefully reviewed. According to published reports, in 1992 the FDA made a deal with the drug industry stating that if the FDA would approve drug applications quicker, they would gain legal authority to collect fees from companies with business for the agency.

The FDA’s response is that its data did not match Carpenter’s and it will submit the conflicting data to the Journal, as well. The agency also stated that it is under no pressure to commit to deadlines, and will always and only approve a medicine if the review suggests that it is, in fact, safe.

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PHARMACY

ScriptPro robotic dispensing adopted in two Haggen locations

BY Drew Buono

BELLINGHAM, Washington Haggen Food & Pharmacy has added ScriptPro’s robotic dispensing devices to two of its stores, one in Ferndale and the other in Barkley Village, according to published reports.

The system automatically selects a prescription vial, counts tablets or capsules into the vial and labels it with patient, drug and dosing information.

“This system offers many advantages for our customers,” said Andrew Charter, vice president of pharmacy at Haggen Inc. “It is better than partially automated systems in providing accurately counted doses. Most importantly, it frees up our pharmacists to spend more time answering the questions of customers rather than counting pills or making labels.”

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Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis partner to market Cialis

BY Drew Buono

BRDIGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis has agreed to help Eli Lilly market its impotency drug Cialis, according to CNN. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lilly gained full rights to the medicine at the beginning of 2007, when it bought the drug from ICOS for $2.3 billion.

Cialis had worldwide sales of $1.1 billion in 2007, compared with its main competitor Pfizer’s Viagra, which saw sales of $1.76 billion.

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