""This proposed reform is carefully designed to balance several objectives," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach. "One goal is to enable many more patients who lack satisfactory alternatives to have access to unapproved medicines, while balancing the need for safeguarding the individual patient. Another equally important goal is to ensure the continued integrity of the scientific process that brings safe and effective drugs to the market."
Janet Woodcock, the FDA's deputy commissioner for operations, explained that large patient groups with cardiovascular diseases, cancer and HIV have long been able to access drugs that are currently being developed and are in clinical trials. However, outside of clinical trials, FDA regulations have been confusing and potentially a barrier to small groups and individual
patients who want to receive access to experimental treatments. The new regulations will explain how patients can receive access to such drugs, even though the patients don't fit the exact criteria for participating in the trial.
"FDA hopes this proposal will increase awareness in the health-care community of the range of options available for obtaining experimental drugs for seriously ill patients," Dr. Woodcock said.
The proposed rules are open for public comment for 90 days.
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