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Pharmaceutical Policy Change and the Safety of New Drugs

Mary Olson

Journal of Law and Economics, 2002, vol. 45, issue S2, 615-642

Abstract: Policy reforms in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have led to substantial increases in the speed of new-drug review. While data show that FDA review times for new drugs have fallen as much as 50 percent, other data show that several new drugs have been withdrawn from the market for safety reasons. This flurry of new-drug withdrawals raises a question. Have increases in the speed of new-drug review had an adverse effect on new-drug safety? This analysis uses adverse drug reaction (ADR) data from the FDA’s Spontaneous Reporting System to examine this question. Specifically, ADR counts for newly approved drugs are estimated as a function of drug characteristics, patient characteristics, and regulatory factors (such as the speed of new-drug review) using negative binomial regression analysis. The primary result is that reductions in new-drug review times are associated with increases in both ADRs requiring hospitalization and ADRs resulting in death.

Date: 2002
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