By Jennifer Corbett Dooren
WASHINGTON—The Food and Drug Administration has approved 20 new drugs so far this year, just one short of the total for all of 2010, according to a top agency official.
The pace likely puts the FDA on track to approve more new types of drugs in 2011 than the previous few years.
In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee, Janet Woodcock, the head of the FDA’s drug division, responded to some lawmakers concerns that a tougher safety stance taken by the agency was slowing down the pace of drug approvals and hurting the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
FDA’s drug approval figures involve drugs or biologics—which are made from living cells—that are considered new types of products. They don’t include approvals granted for new formulations or new uses of existing drugs as well as vaccines.