Adverse experiences during licensed treatment with the antidepressant serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor zimeldine in Sweden are presented. Data were obtained from a written inquiry of 694 patients and 67 reports to the Medical Products Agency. The spectrum of adverse symptoms was in agreement with those reported in previous studies on zimeldine. The most frequent adverse experiences were headache, nausea, myalgia, signs of liver function disturbance, arthralgia, neurological symptoms, fever and insomnia. No new case of the Guillain-Barré syndrome was found. The estimated frequency of the zimeldine-induced hypersensitivity syndrome (HSS), comprising fever, myalgia and/or arthralgia and signs of liver function disturbance, ranged from 1.4% to 13% in the inquiry and from 0.63% to 3.4% in the report part of the study. Adverse experiences usually had a considerably higher incidence during the first 6 weeks of zimeldine treatment than thereafter. This is in agreement with the clinical experience that most of the adverse reactions occur early during zimeldine treatment. However, a number of adverse experiences did occur with a later onset. This may justify a prolongation of the compulsory 4 weeks' testing of liver function that is required during licensed treatment. There were significantly fewer patients who developed fever among the patients who had experienced previous zimeldine treatment than among those who had not. Otherwise there was no statistically significant difference in frequency of adverse symptoms between these two groups. Consequently zimeldine treatment per se does not seem to predispose to development of an HSS or other types of adverse reactions during subsequent therapy.
RU 486 allows women the choice of a medical rather than a surgical abortion, and, for most women, the choice is one of procedure, not of whether to have an abortion. Issues surrounding RU 486 were explored in an American Society of Law and Medicine conference in December 1991 entitled "Antiprogestin Drugs: Ethical, Legal and Medical Issues." An introduction to 14 conference papers provides an overview of the proceedings. Baulieu, the father of RU 486, described updated developments in its use and the medically supervised method of abortion. Bygdeman and Swahn presented their work in Sweden on combining RU 486 with a prostaglandin to make abortion more effective. They suggested that the drug may be an attractive postovulation contraceptive. Greenslad et al. discussed service delivery aspects of the use of RU 486. Holt considered the implications of use of the drug in low-resource settings. A survey of obstetricians and gynecologists, presented by Heilig, indicates that 22% more physicians would perform a medical abortion. Patient perspectives were addressed by David, who stated that measuring acceptability of an abortion technique is difficult; women have historically used whatever method is available. A collaborative research project in India and Cuba on why women chose certain methods was reported by Winikoff et al. (90% of women would choose medical abortion if faced with the choice again). Berer analyzed French data on women's perspectives on medical vs. surgical abortion. The question of adolescent use of the drug was considered by Senderowitz, who lamented the lack of data on the subject and described what is known about adolescent pregnancy. Macklin proposed a framework for ethical analysis and used facts to address ethical questions. Weinstein provided another ethical framework, to analyze whether pharmacists have a right to refuse to provide abortifacient drugs. Buc approached the subject from a legal point of view and concluded that, whereas legal problems are minimal, political problem are of first concern. Boland described differences in introduction of the drug in France and Britain and the US. The theory of "use it or lose it" in patent legislation is applied differently in the US, France, and the UK. Hayhurst, in a complementary legal analysis, noted that Canadian importation would open access to affluent US women. Pine reported on the legal case Benten vs. Kessler, which did not result in successful importation of the drug for personal use, but resulted in some supportive language from the courts. By refusing to apply to the FDA for marketing approval, RU 486's manufacturer may be setting itself up for a boycott. Approaching the problem from these various perspectives addressed the challenge between medical advances and politics and highlighted the need to balance the benefits to women with perceived threats to values.
Poor concordance exists between medications that receive a priority review in Canada and those given an expeditious review in the United States. The objectives of this study were to obtain an evaluation of the clinical significance of new drugs approved in both countries from expert clinical pharmacologists, and to examine the concordance of their aggregate assessment with whether or not the product received an expeditious review in either country. Five experts assessed 146 new medications approved in both Canada and the United States between 1996 and early 2002. Overall, the concordance between the experts' assessments was poor and there was large variation in products considered to be of sufficient importance for priority status. Nevertheless, the experts' evaluations suggested that several priority-reviewed products did not warrant such a review. Regulatory agencies select new medications of potential clinical significance to receive shorter review times to minimize the delay in access to them, but, in Canada, only a low proportion of priority-status products had review times within Health Canada's performance target. The large variation in the assessment of clinical significance suggests that a more appropriate strategy in Canada is to devote sufficient resources to reviewing all medications in a timely manner.
To review clinical and cost-effectiveness evidence underlying reimbursement decisions relating to drugs whose authorization mainly is based on evidence from prospective case series.
A systematic review of all new drugs evaluated in 2011-2016 within a health care profession-driven resource prioritization process, with a market approval based on prospective case series, and a reimbursement decision by the Swedish Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency (TLV). Public assessment reports from the European Medicines Agency, published pivotal studies, and TLV, Scottish Medicines Consortium and National Institute of Health and Care Excellence decisions and guidance documents were reviewed.
Six drug cases were assessed (brentuximab vedotin, bosutinib, ponatinib, idelalisib, vismodegib, ceritinib). The validity of the pivotal studies was hampered by the use of surrogate primary outcomes and the absence of recruitment information. To quantify drug treatment effect sizes, the reimbursement agencies primarily used data from another source in indirect comparisons. TLV granted reimbursement in five cases, compared with five in five cases for Scottish Medicines Consortium and four in five cases for National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. Decision modifiers, contributing to granted reimbursement despite hugely uncertain cost-effectiveness ratios, were, for example, small population size, occasionally linked to budget impact, severity of disease, end of life and improved life expectancy.
For drugs whose authorization is based on prospective case series, most applications for reimbursement within public health care are granted. The underlying evidence has limitations over and above the design per se, and decision modifiers are frequently referred to in the value-based pricing decision making.
The role of regulatory drug submission evaluators in Canada is to critically assess both the data submitted and the sponsor's interpretation of the data in order to reach an evidence-, and context-based recommendation as to the potential benefits and potential harms (i.e., risks) associated with taking the drug under the proposed conditions of use. The purpose of this document is to outline the regulatory framework in which this assessment occurs, including: defining what "authorization to market a drug in Canada" means, in terms of the role of the sponsor, the responsibility of Health Canada in applying the Food and Drugs Act prior to and after marketing authorization, and the distinction between regulatory authorization versus physician authorization; highlighting organizational, process and legal factors within Health Canada related to authorization of clinical trials and authorization to market a drug; considerations during the review process, such as regulatory and scientific issues related to the drug, patient populations and trial designs; application of international guidelines, and decisions from other jurisdictions; regulatory realities regarding drug authorization, including the requirement for wording in the Product Monograph to accurately reflect the information currently available on the safe and effective use of a drug, and that hypothesis-confirming studies are essential to regulatory endorsement; current issues related to the review of therapies for dementia, such as assessing preventative treatments, and therapies that have symptomatic versus disease-modifying effects, statistical issues regarding missing data, and trial design issues.
In Canada, veterinary biological products derived by using conventional and new techniques of biotechnology are licensed and regulated under the Health of Animals Act and Regulations. Biological products include vaccines, bacterins, bacterin-toxoids and diagnostic kits which are used for the prevention, treatment or diagnosis of infectious diseases in all species of animals, including fish. Veterinary biologicals are licensed on the basis of fulfillment of four criteria: purity, potency, safety and efficacy. A risk-based approach is used to evaluate the safety of the product in target species, as well as non-target species, humans and the environment. On the basis of biological characteristics, biotechnology derived veterinary biologicals have been divided into two broad categories, high and low risk products. The paper describes the regulatory framework for the licensing of veterinary biologicals in Canada, with emphasis on the regulatory considerations for recombinant fish vaccines. Stages of movement of the product from research in a contained laboratory facility to a fully licensed product for free sale are discussed. The requirements for field testing and environmental assessment involved in these stages are highlighted. Manufacturers and researchers who intend to commercialize experimental vaccines are encouraged to consult with the Veterinary Biologics and Biotechnology Section early in the product development process so that the research data and quality assurance documentation are consistent with regulatory requirements.