Background: Swissmedic is a major regulatory agency that has been benchmarking its timelines for 20 years. To better understand the Swissmedic review times and to examine whether measures introduced to accelerate the process were effective, a retrospective analysis was undertaken. The objective was to provide a breakdown of where time is spent in the phases of Swissmedic’s approval process (validation, scientific assessment, authorisation) and how this compared to other major authorities.

Methods: Data on Swissmedic, EMA and FDA product approvals were collected from websites or through direct communication, using a standardised CIRS method and milestones previously identified, focusing on new active substances approved 2019-2021.

Results: In 2019, 2020, and 2021, Swissmedic median approval times were 520, 470, and 392 days, respectively. The decrease over this time was mainly observed in the Authorisation Phase and can be attributed to lower proportions of applications with multiple “labelling loops”, in addition to shorter times for final label negotiation. While Swissmedic had the longest overall approval time (447 days) compared to EMA (428) and FDA (244), the timelines were more comparable when considering only the agency’s time spent on the scientific assessment, with Swissmedic at 194 days, EMA at 218 days, and FDA at 184 days.

Conclusions: These observations represent an important analysis of Swissmedic regulatory activity timelines, demonstrate the impact of process improvements, and emphasise the importance of measuring timelines. Swissmedic will continue to expedite its processes also by promoting international collaborations with like-minded authorities.

Bujar M, Dalla Torre di Sanguinetto SA, Kermad A, Bolte C, McAuslane N. An Evaluation of the Swissmedic Regulatory Framework for New Active Substances [published online ahead of print, 2023 Oct 26]. Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2023;10.1007/s43441-023-00581-7. doi:10.1007/s43441-023-00581-7