Critical Wrath

  • by: |
  • 10/17/2007
A more complete response to the politically motivated, mean spirited, and just plain wrong comments by the so-called Union of Concerned Scientists ...

Here are some snippets:

* Twenty-five years ago, the success rate for a new drug used was about 14 percent. Today, a new medicinal compound entering early-stage testing – often after more than a decade of pre-clinical screening and evaluation – is estimated to have only an 8 percent chance of reaching the market. For very innovative and unproven technologies, the probability of an individual product's success is even lower.

* Better, more current and predictable scientific research and standards must be developed and devoted to streamlining the critical path. Investment in basic research is not enough. Specifically new development tools are needed to improve the predictability of the drug development cycle and to lower the cost of research by helping industry identify product failures earlier in the clinical trials process.

* New development tools in these areas will enable better through-put to commercial product development and will act as a productivity multiplier, increasing the returns on public and private investment in basic research. With improved scientific methods and a new, shared effort by all of us, we can develop and improve standards for product characterization and product safety testing, for both traditional and innovative products.

* Today only about 1 percent of the proteins in blood have been identified. Of that 1 percent only a fifth has FDA approved diagnostic utility. These proteins, after we understand them, could help predict disease remission. Currently academics and private companies collect data and establish correlations, but no one is responsible for organizing this information into the broader knowledge that could lead to generalized principles industry and FDA could use for broader, faster, and more accurate product evaluation.

* Think about the millions of dollars that would be saved by all types and sizes of companies and governments if publicly discussed and vetted biomarkers could be used and used predictably in the drug approval process. Using the lower end of the Tufts drug development number, a 10 percent improvement in predicting failure before clinical trials could save $100 million in development costs. Similarly, shifting 5 percent of clinical failures from late-stage to early-stage trials reduces out of pocket costs by $15-$20 million.

Next up on the Critical Path hit parade -- who will be named to the Reagan/Udall board of directors. Watch this space for more details.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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