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Avastin Withdrawal Showed Accelerated Approval Hearing Process No Easy Task For US FDA

Executive Summary

Internal emails show the 2011 hearing on Genentech’s VEGF-inhibitor was taxing for FDA employees, who had to deal with a number of novel issues; the workload is likely to be similarly complex for staff involved in upcoming hearing on Covis’ preterm birth prevention drug Makena.

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The unexpectedly tight fight to get Robert Califf confirmed as FDA commissioner is giving lawmakers additional leverage to extract commitments. However, the Senate Finance Chair may be overestimating FDA’s ability to swiftly pull accelerated approvals without new legislation.

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Jacqueline O’Shaughnessy takes over as acting chief scientist following Denise Hinton’s move to the surgeon general’s office; Hinton previously had been tapped by acting commissioner Janet Woodcock to make a final decision on the accelerated approval status of Covis' preterm birth prevention drug Makena.

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Preterm birth prevention drug should come off the market to ensure the accelerated approval pathway does not operate as a lower approval standard, agency says; proposed withdrawal comes almost a year after an advisory committee split on the question of whether Makena should stay on the market in light of delayed, and ultimately unsuccessful, confirmatory study.

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