- The last decade, 2006-2015, saw a continuation of the convergence and general decrease in the approval times amongst six major regulatory authorities, namely the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the US Food and Drug Authority (FDA), the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), Health Canada, Swissmedic and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
- The difference in median approval time between the fastest and the slowest agency decreased from 530 days in 2006 to 180 days in 2015. This may reflect the improving quality of submissions from companies, as well as implementation of quality measures by agencies, such as pre-submission activities in order to verify the quality of the dossier ahead of the review.
- In 2015, PMDA was the agency with the shortest median approval time (284 days), followed by FDA (351), Health Canada (355), TGA (373), EMA (417) and Swissmedic (464). The gap between FDA and PMDA has further widened in 2015 to 67 days. Amongst the cohort of EMA, Health Canada, TGA and FDA the gap is similar at 66 days, but has been narrowing.
- The large drop in the PMDA approval times that has occurred since the beginning of the decade reflects the continual improvements and resource commitments made by the agency. Although the FDA timing has increased slightly since 2013, this likely reflects the pre-Prescription Drug User Fee (PDUFA) two-month filing period introduced to the review timeline under the fifth iteration of PDUFA. This modification aims to enable further improvements to company submission quality and to optimise the FDA review process and increase the number of one-cycle approvals.
From: Bujar M, McAuslane N, Liberti L. 2016. R&D Briefing 59: The impact of the evolving regulatory environment on the approval of new medicines across six major authorities 2006-2015. Centre for Innovation in Regulatory Science.
Definitions: New active substance (NAS): A chemical, biological, biotechnology or radiopharmaceutical substance that has not been previously available for therapeutic use in humans and is destined to be made available as a ‘prescription only medicine’, to be used for the cure, alleviation, treatment, prevention or in vivo diagnosis of diseases in humans; Approval time: Time calculated from the date of submission to the date of approval by the agency. This time includes agency and company time.
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