Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 15(4) May 2020 : 35-40.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2020.26226
Discussion and Debate

Commentary: Expedited Regulatory Review of Low-Value Drugs

Jonathan J. Darrow and Reed F. Beall


Lexchin has criticized Health Canada's recently published draft guidance on accelerated drug review, expressing concern over agency conflicts of interest and observing that priority review and notice of compliance with conditions correlate poorly with therapeutic benefit. Although agency operations may be imperfect, perhaps the most important finding of Lexchin's research is that only 11% of newly approved drugs provide meaningful benefit over standard treatments. To improve the expedited review process in light of these findings, we suggest eliminating user fees and fully funding the review process with public monies, reserving the use of expedited approval pathways for when preliminary measures of benefit are so large that traditional approval thresholds can be met earlier in the clinical trial process, improving labelling to quantitatively communicate drug benefits and risks, and avoiding the use of titles such as "priority" review, which could imply a magnitude of clinical superiority that has not been established.



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