Cutting Red Tape to Save Lives

The FDA vows to speed up approval of breakthrough drugs

Like the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is one of those Government agencies that everyone loves to hate. Pharmaceutical companies lament the profits they might be making if only the drug-approval process did not take so long. Desperately ill people accuse the agency of denying them experimental drugs that might offer hope for survival.

Last week the FDA got a chance to play hero when it announced a streamlined procedure that could cut the time it takes to develop and market a new drug from eight to as little as three years. The new rules will affect...

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