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The new drug application (NDA) review has changed by both the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) and the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) in our federal government system. PDUFA is a legislative act that allows the FDA to collect fees from sponsor companies such as pharmaceutical companies who submit applications for review. The fees are used to update facilities and hire and train reviewers and staff. To give you an idea, it’s an average of a hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions just to submit an NDA at the FDA (view table 1 below). PDUFA usually is renewed and currently we are at PDUFA VI. This means that we have had this act renewed a total of 6 times as we are on its 6th renewal of the act.

Table 1Fee schedule based off PDUFA VI

You’ll notice that every couple of years, FDAMA reauthorizes PDUFA which is where the numbers come in after the name (i.e. currently we are on PDUFA VI). It waives the user fee to small companies who have fewer than 500 employees and are submitting their first application. It also allows payment of the fee in stages and permits some percentage of the refund if the application is refused. Also, it exempts applications for drugs used in rare conditions (orphan drugs), supplemental applications for pediatric indications, and applications for biological used as precursors for other biologics manufacture. In addition, FDAMA permits a “fast-track” approval of compounds that demonstrate significant benefit to critically ill patients, such as those who suffer from AIDS, hepatitis C and other specialty disease states. The intricacies and complexities are much more than what is reviewed in this guide and may not be needed to study for your MPJE exam.

If you would like to learn more regulatory information and review the fees for the other acts such as the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA II) to help fund review of generic drugs, the Biosimilar User Fee Amendments (BSUFA II) to help fund review of biosimilar drugs, or the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA IV) to help fund review of medical devices, you can visit the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) at the following link:

This is why many pharmaceutical companies stress on having a strong regulatory affairs department to ensure acceptance of their drug into market, not just for profitability, but also to avoid the hassles of a delayed approval. In addition, PDUFA requires the FDA to speed up their approval time through set timeline requirements due to increased fees to file an ...

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