Cancer Drugs Now Account for 27 Percent of New U.S. Approvals: Tufts

September 12, 2019

Cancer drugs now account for 27 percent of all new drug approvals in the U.S., up from just four percent in the 1980s — in part because of improved trial designs, novel drug formats and new targets — according to a new study from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD).  

Between 1980 and 2018, the FDA approved 126 cancer drugs to treat solid and hematologic cancers, the center found. The researchers found that while development time for cancer drugs during 1999-2018 was nine percent longer than for non-cancer drugs, regulatory approvals during the same period was 48 percent shorter for the cancer drugs on average.

Higher percentages of new cancer drug approvals received priority ratings from the FDA and had orphan drug status during 1999-2018, compared to new non-cancer drugs, Tufts found.

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