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Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2014 Nov;40(11):1429-34. doi: 10.3109/03639045.2014.884132. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

The use of the United States FDA programs as a strategy to advance the development of drug products for neglected tropical diseases.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia , Vancouver, BC , Canada .


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are infections which are endemic in poor populations in lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Approximately one billion people have now or are at risk of getting an NTD and yet less than 5% of research dollars are focused on providing treatments and prevention of these highly debilitating and deadly conditions. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Orphan Drug Designation program (ODDP) provides orphan status to drugs and biologics, defined as those intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases and/or disorders that affect fewer than 200 000 people in the United States, or that affect more than 200 000 persons but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug. These regulations have led to the translation of rare disease knowledge into innovative rare disease therapies. The FDA Guidance for Industry on developing drugs for the treatment and prevention of NTDs describes the following regulatory strategies: Orphan Product Designation, Fast Track Designation, Priority Review Designation, Accelerated Approval and Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher. This paper will discuss how these regulations and especially the ODDP can improve the clinical development and accessibility of drug products for NTDs.


FDA; NTDs; global health; knowledge translation; orphan drugs

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