Mind to Market

Sunday, February 11, 2007

PGx Industry vs FDA: Round 1

Apparently things weren't quite as sanguine at the FDA's public hearing on IVDMIAs as they had hoped. The pharmacogenomic industry turned out to roundly criticize the FDA's draft guidance document. Comments seemed to focus on the fact that this is a fledgling industry and requires some leeway in order to grow, leeway that may be restricted should the FDA require the diagnostic tests go through a regulatory process. On the one hand, the FDA claims that although the components of the tests may all be approved, they have not been approved as a system and thus are considered a new devise. Because the tests cannot be analyzed outside of their proprietary kit, the results cannot be evaluated independently and thus are essentially black boxes; the consumer or physician using the test must rely completely on the authority of the manufacturer.

The PGx industry sees their costs sky rocketing if the FDA gets involved not to mention increasing time to market. Along with rising costs come rising risks; not only will the regulatory process cost more, there is an increased chance that the test will not be approved at the end of the process.

Some of this risk could be reduced if the FDA could streamline their process. This is a very dynamic field that could be of great help in both improving health and lowering costs in healthcare. This comes straight up against a government bureaucracy and the fear is that progress will be slowed to a crawl. The FDA has been charged with protecting the public's health but could they be hurting it in the process?

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