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Since 1980, the US Congress has passed legislation providing several incentives to encourage the development and regulatory approval of new drugs, particularly antibiotics. We assessed long-term trends and characteristics of approvals and discontinuations of all new molecular entities, new therapeutic biologics, and gene and cell therapies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as reasons for discontinuations by therapeutic class, in the context of laws and regulations implemented over the past four decades. In the period 1980–2021, the FDA approved 1310 new drugs, of which 210 (16.0%) had been discontinued as of 31 December 2021, including 38 (2.9%) withdrawn for safety reasons. The FDA approved 77 (5.9%) new systemic antibiotics, of which 32 (41.6%) had been discontinued at the end of the observation period, including 6 (7.8%) safety withdrawals. Since the enactment of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act in 2012, which created the Qualified Infectious Disease Product designation for antiinfectives to treat serious or life-threatening diseases due to resistant or potentially resistant bacteria, the FDA has approved 15 new systemic antibiotics, all using non-inferiority trials, for 22 indications and five different infections. Only one of the infections had labeled indications for patients with drug-resistant pathogens.


This article was originally published in Healthcare, volume 11, in 2023.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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