The prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992 and the new drug development process

Am J Ther. 1997 May-Jun;4(5-6):167-72. doi: 10.1097/00045391-199705000-00002.


The Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992 (PDUFA) authorizes the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to levy user fees on manufacturers who submit applications to the agency. Revenues are dedicated to the achievement of a set of specific performance goals, documented by the FDA Commissioner and referenced in the Act. The FDA currently credits PDUFA with the agency's success in reducing new drug review times and eliminating the formidable new drug application (NDA) backlog. To provide an independent assessment of PDUFA's impact on the new drug development process, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development established an annual user fee survey of over 50 major pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms with operations in the United States. As of December 31, 1996, survey data have been collected for fiscal years 1994, 1995, and 1996. Data from a cohort of user fee drugs approved in 1993-1996 were compared with data from all non-user fee drugs approved in 1990-1992. Whereas the mean approval phase (NDA submission to approval) for the user fee drugs was considerably shorter than that for the non-user fee drugs (14.5 versus 31.0 months, respectively), the mean clinical phase (investigational new drug application filing to NDA submission) was somewhat longer (88.0 versus 81.1 months, respectively). As a result, the total time from the start of clinical testing to drug approval (total phase) was only marginally shorter for the user fee drugs (102.0 versus 112.1 months, respectively). These results highlight the need for efforts to reduce lengthy drug development times.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / economics
  • Biotechnology / trends
  • Drug Approval / economics
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Drug Industry / economics
  • Drug Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration