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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 159-164

An evaluation of drug lag for new drugs approved by the Indian regulator relative to the United States, European Union, and Japanese regulatory agencies: A 15-year analysis (2004–2018)

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nithya J Gogtay
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.PICR_99_19

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Background: The approval process of every drug regulatory agency differs, and hence, the time required for the approval of a new drug varies. This results in a drug lag and India is no exception to this phenomenon. A drug lag precludes Indian patients from accessing new medicines at the same time as they are approved elsewhere. Against this backdrop, we assessed the absolute and relative drug lags of the Indian regulator relative to three regulators in mature markets, namely United States (US), European Union (EU), and Japan. Methods: International nonproprietary names were used to identify new drugs. Their dates of approval (2004-2018) from the online database of four regulatory agencies were identified. Both absolute and relative drug lags were calculated for India as compared to US, EU, and Japan as well for all the agencies relative to the Indian regulator. Results: We identified a total of 453, 473, 424, and 472 new drugs approved over the study period in India, US, EU, and Japan, respectively. The absolute drug lag of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) was 19 and 18 relative to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), respectively. The relative drug lag for the CDSCO vis-a-vis the US FDA, European Medicines Agency, and PMDA was 43.2 (2.1–1287.8), 25.6 (0.03–1310.5), and 30.3 (1.2–1242) months, respectively. Conclusion: Our study shows a significant drug lag between India and other three developed nations (US, EU, and Japan). However, in some therapeutic areas, Indian regulator has proactively approved new drugs much before other agencies. The New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rule of 2019 has brought hope for reduction in drug lag in the near future.

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