TITLE

Time required for approval of new drugs in Canada, Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in 1996-1998

AUTHOR(S)
Rawson, Nigel S.B.; Rawson, N S
PUB. DATE
February 2000
SOURCE
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;2/22/2000, Vol. 162 Issue 4, p501
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
journal article
ABSTRACT
Background: The timeliness with which national regulatory agencies approve new drugs for marketing affects health care professionals and patients. An unnecessarily long approval process delays access to new medications that may improve patients' health status. The author compared drug approval times in Canada, Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Methods: Application and approval dates of new chemical or biological substances (excluding diagnostic products, and new salts, esters, dosage forms and combinations of previously approved substances) approved for marketing in the 5 countries from January 1996 to December 1998 were requested from the relevant pharmaceutical companies. Data on new drug approvals during the study period were also obtained from the national drug regulatory agencies in Canada, Australia and Sweden and from publications of the US Food and Drug Administration. Results: A total of 219 new drugs were identified as being approved in at least one of the countries during the study period: 23 (10.5%) in all 5 countries, 23 (10.5%) in 4, 27 (12.3%) in 3, 42 (19.2%) in 2, and 104 (47.5%) in 1 country. By individual nation, 97 drugs were identified as being approved in Canada, 94 in Australia, 107 in Sweden, 55 in the UK and 123 in the US. Approval times in Canada and Australia were similar (medians 518 and 526 days respectively), but both countries had significantly longer approval times than Sweden (median 371 days), the UK (median 308 days) and the US (median 369 days). This pattern was consistent across all 3 years and for the 23 new drugs approved in all 5 countries during the 3-year period. Median approval times in Canada were similar in all of the reviewing divisions of Health Canada's Therapeutic Product Program (539-574 days) except the Central Nervous System Division (428 days) and the Bureau of Biologics and Radiopharmaceuticals (698 days). Interpretation: Median drug approval times during 1996-1998 decreased by varying amounts from the 1995 values in all 5 countries. However, the median approval time in Canada continues to be significantly longer than the times achieved in Sweden, the UK and the US, and it remains considerably longer than Canada's own target of 355 days for all new drugs.
ACCESSION #
2814789

 

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