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Safety First...and Last

Executive Summary

Even if industry observers are correct and the US Food and Drug Administration has changed its rules for drug approval and is now tilting toward assessing safety, not efficacy, first, the current policy falls squarely within the agency's legislative mandate. Historically, it has asked companies to conduct additional clinical trials when doubts about safety remain. But even within that requirement, the FDA has room to maneuver. And a new school of thought is leaning toward post-marketing risk management to detect serious and rare adverse effects after a drug has reached the market on the basis that its benefits outweighs its risks.

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