A New Law Advances Public Health: New Web Page Tracks Progress

By: Malcolm Bertoni and Leslie Kux

After Congress passes a law that affects how FDA carries out its public health mission, we must begin the task of implementing the law — that is, putting the law into effect and enforcing it.

For a major piece of legislation like the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), signed into law in July, this is a complex undertaking.  

Malcolm Bertoni

FDASIA is a 140-page law divided into 11 separate sections, officially known as “titles,” which address different aspects of drug and device law. FDASIA reauthorizes and makes some changes to user fee programs that provide FDA with the resources we need to maintain a predictable and efficient review process for human drugs, biological products (such as vaccines), and medical devices.  

FDASIA also creates two new user fee programs:  one for generic drugs and another for biosimilar biologics. These new programs will allow FDA to enhance its efforts to ensure that American consumers have more timely access to safe, high quality, affordable medicines. The law also gives the agency new authority to protect the safety of the drug supply chain, which is so important when these products arrive from all corners of the world; to combat drug shortages; and to improve products used to treat children. The law includes many other provisions, including those involving drug innovation and device regulation.

The requirements of the individual provisions vary; some direct FDA to write new regulations or guidance documents that will help industry meet the law’s requirements, while some call for the agency to issue reports or develop strategic plans. Some provisions set specific timetables for action, others don’t.

Leslie Kux

The successful implementation of FDASIA is one of our top priorities. To ensure its success, FDA set up a steering committee shortly after the law was passed to oversee the task of integrating the requirements of FDASIA into the agency’s ongoing workload. One of the committee’s projects has been to create a table that tracks what FDA must do to comply with the statute.

Today we are making available a website that will allow you to follow the agency’s progress in accomplishing the actions required by the new law. The website includes a table that lists information about FDASIA tasks such as the citation to the section of the law, a description of the task, the statutory due date, and the name of a primary contact person. The table will also include links to pertinent documents as they are completed and published.

Initially, the table will include only those requirements with a due date set by Congress. In 2013, other requirements that were not given a specific due date will be added, along with FDA’s target completion date.

FDASIA is an important law with significant provisions affecting industry, patients, consumers and health care providers. We will be updating the website on a regular basis as part of our commitment to transparency about our FDASIA implementation.

Malcolm J. Bertoni is FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Planning

Leslie Kux is FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Policy

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