FDA Fast Track Development Program
|Regulation of therapeutic goods in the United States|
The FDA Fast Track Development Program is a designation of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that accelerates the approval of investigational new drugs undergoing clinical trials with the goal review time of 60 days. Such status is often given to agents that show promise in treating serious, life-threatening medical conditions for which no other drug either exists or works as well.
Fast track is a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. The purpose is to get important new drugs to the patient earlier. Fast Track addresses a broad range of serious diseases. Determining whether a disease is serious is a matter of judgment, but generally is based on whether the drug will have an impact on such factors as survival, day-to-day functioning, or the likelihood that the disease, if left untreated, will progress from a less severe condition to a more serious one.
Any drug being developed as a treatment or preventative measure for a disease that does not have a current therapy is labelled as an unmet need. If there are existing therapies, a fast track drug must show some advantage over available treatment, such as:
- Showing superior effectiveness
- Avoiding serious side effects of an available treatment
- Improving the diagnosis of a serious disease where early diagnosis results in an improved outcome
- Decreasing a clinically significant toxicity of an accepted treatment
A drug that receives Fast Track designation is eligible for some or all of the following:
- More frequent meetings with FDA to discuss the drug’s development plan and ensure collection of appropriate data needed to support drug approval
- More frequent written correspondence from FDA about such things as the design of the proposed clinical trials
- Eligibility for FDA Accelerated Approval, i.e., approval on an effect on a surrogate, or substitute endpoint reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit
- Rolling Review, which means that a drug company can submit completed sections of its New Drug Application (NDA) for review by FDA, rather than waiting until every section of the application is completed before the entire application can be reviewed. NDA review usually does not begin until the drug company has submitted the entire application to the FDA
- Dispute resolution if the drug company is not satisfied with an FDA decision not to grant Fast Track status.
In addition, most drugs that are eligible for Fast Track designation are likely to be considered appropriate to receive a Priority Review. Fast Track designation must be requested by the drug company. The request can be initiated at any time during the drug development process. FDA will review the request and make a decision within sixty days based on whether the drug fills an unmet medical need in a serious disease.
Once a drug receives Fast Track designation, early and frequent communication between the FDA and a drug company is encouraged throughout the entire drug development and review process. The frequency of communication assures that questions and issues are resolved quickly, often leading to earlier drug approval and access by patients.
According to data on FDA website, Fast Track has generated the following workload from March 1998 to September 2011: Submitted 248 applications
Reviewed within 60 days:
- Granted - 152
- Denied - 87
- Currently pending - 2
Reviewed for longer than 60 days:
- Granted - 4
- Denied - 1
- Currently pending - 7
- Reichert JM, Rochon SL, Zhang BD (November 2008). "A decade of the Fast Track programme". Nat Rev Drug Discov 7 (11): 885–6. doi:10.1038/nrd2733. PMID 18948998.
- "Fast Track, Breakthrough Therapy, Accelerated Approval and Priority Review". For Patients and Patient Advocates. United States Food and Drug Administration.
- Henninger, Daniel (2002). "Drug Lag". In David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (1st ed.). Library of Economics and Liberty. OCLC 317650570, 50016270 and 163149563