Apr 15, 2013
In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 39 new prescription drugs, the highest number approved in 16 years. And 10 of these were approved through an FDA program allowing shorter, smaller or fewer clinical trials.
The new pathway makes it quicker for new drugs to be approved. And it allows drug manufacturers to lower their costs.
According to Public Citizen, an independent government watchdog group, two of the drugs approved on the fast-track in 2012 were for obesity, despite a task force recommendation against such drugs, and two other approved drugs had life-threatening side effects. Others of the drugs approved were “me-too” drugs. These variations on drugs that already exist included Stendra (avanafil), although it is simply a variation in the structure of a drug we know as Viagra.
Supposedly the industry is pushing to get faster and cheaper approval from the FDA in order to sell us medicines that “fill an unmet medical need.” Obviously, the “unmet need” the drug companies have is for profitable medicines that people will be convinced to take in huge quantities, preferably at high prices.