The US FDA is on track to approve more drugs in 2011 than it did last year but industry and regulators need to do more to sustain the improvement according to a new study.
The research, Burrill & Co, reveals that 21 new pharmaceuticals have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so far this year, which matches the number of approvals granted in 2010.
The authors are not clear for the reasons behind the increase, but do note that a third of the drugs approved in 2011 had failed to pass muster with the agency on their first attempt. That compares to about a fifth of the drugs approved in 2010.
"Seven months of data is not enough to suggest a significant change in approach at the FDA or that strategies to alter the drug development process to improve productivity are paying off.
"It is encouraging. But improving the pace at which new drugs reach the public will require much more work, both at the agency and in industry."