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Expanded access

Expanded access (also known as compassionate use or "pre-approval access") refers to the use of an investigational new drug (IND) outside of a clinical trial by people with serious or life-threatening conditions who do not meet the enrollment criteria for the clinical trial in progress. Outside the United States, such access is allowed through named patient programs. In the US this type of access may be available, in accordance with United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, when it is determined that people may benefit from the treatment, the therapy can be given safely outside the clinical trial setting, no other alternative therapy is available, and the drug developer agrees to provide access to the drug. The FDA refers to such a program as an expanded access program (EAP). US National Cancer Institute - Access to Investigational Drugs accessed April 22, 2007 EAPs have many use cases, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, genetic disorders, and rare diseases, among others. There are several types of EAPs allowed in the United States. Treatment protocols and treatment INDs provide large numbers of people access to investigational drugs. A single-patient IND is a request from a physician to the FDA that an individual be allowed access to an investigational drug on an emergency or compassionate use basis. FDA Final Rules for Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use and Charging for Investigational Drugs When the FDA receives a significant number of requests (~10 to 100) for individual expanded access to an investigational drug for the same use, they may ask the trial sponsor to consolidate these requests, creating an intermediate-size group. Final FDA Rules on Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use “Compassionate use” is a more colloquial term that is not generally used by the FDA. Individuals and their physicians can apply for use of an investigational drug using FDA Form 3926, an application form created by the agency in June 2016. Individual Patient Expanded Access Application: FDA Form 3926 accessed September 20, 2016Firth, S (June 2, 2016). " New Compassionate Use Process From FDA" MedPage Today. Accessed September 20, 2016.

FDA regulations

Since 1987, the FDA has had rules in place that have enabled people, under specific circumstances, to access drugs or biologics that are still in development for treatment purposes. These expanded access program rules were amended in 2009 by the FDA to ensure “broad and equitable access to investigational drugs for treatment.” FDA website The regulations include the following:
  • Criteria that must be met in order to authorize the expanded access use
  • Requirements for expanded access submissions
  • Safeguards to protect people in clinical trials and the clinical trial process itself
The regulations also include general criteria for granting expanded access:
  • The person must have a serious condition or disease for which there is no comparable alternative therapy available
  • The person must be unable to participate in a clinical trial
  • The potential benefit must outweigh the potential risk of using the treatment
  • There should be no impact on the completion of the clinical trial or the drug’s approval
Despite the updated regulations, debate remains over key elements of expanded access:
  • Deciding at what point in the clinical trial process access should be given. Some stakeholders support expanded access programs after phase I testing in clinical trials. The FDA has stated that most drugs should not be eligible until some point during phase III when efficacy data have been obtained, unless compelling phase II data on safety and efficacy are available. Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, January 15, 2010.
  • Weighing risks to the patient against the potential benefits. The FDA requires that a physician and an institutional review board (IRB) determine that a treatment will not pose undue risk to the person, relative to the condition he or she is suffering from. Access to Investigational Drugs Remains Challenge Despite New FDA Rules ‘’The Pink Sheet’’ However, the FDA maintains the right to overrule the physician and IRB.
  • Determining who should get access. The FDA states that expanded access should only be considered for patients with a serious disease or condition, but the FDA’s rules do not provide a definition of “serious”; instead it provides examples of diseases and conditions that fall into this category. In the case of a cancer drug, the sponsor of an expanded access program must define exactly which people will get access. Most often, access is limited to those people with the same type of cancer the drug is being tested for. Managing Access to Drugs Prior to Approval and Launch ‘’Life Science Leader’’
A number of challenges can exist when people seek access to investigational drugs:
  • Obtaining agreement from a drug manufacturer to provide the drug. The drug manufacturing company must agree to provide the investigational drug for expanded access use. FDA cannot compel a company to provide a drug for compassionate use, and a company may decline a compassionate use request for a variety of reasons. If a company agrees to provide the drug, it will issue a Letter of Authorization.
  • Obtaining an IRB review. Finding time on an IRB’s schedule can be difficult, particularly for doctors who are not based at research centers where IRBs are readily available. The fee for the review may pose a problem as well. It may be unclear who is responsible for the cost of the IRB review, which can be as much as $2,000. Many IRBs conduct reviews pro bono but others that charge will often only waive their fees for research done in their hospital. FDA webinar accessed May 5, 2010
  • Protecting physicians against liability risk. Currently, physicians may be concerned that they could face a liability risk for investigational drugs that they recommend to their patients or help them gain access to, potentially discouraging them from doing so. The FDA does not have jurisdiction over this issue but there is a bill in Congress, the Compassionate Access Act of 2010 (H.R. 4732), that would address the situation. FDA Law Blog accessed May 5, 2010
  • Paying for the drug. While the FDA allows drug companies to recover the costs of providing a treatment through an EAP, many companies may hesitate to do so because it requires disclosing the cost of their drug, which is often a closely guarded secret. In addition, many insurance companies won’t cover the costs of experimental treatment so access could be limited to people with the means to pay for it.
  • Assessing the potential impact of adverse events on drug development. Adverse events (AEs) that result from expanded access programs must be reported to the FDA in the same way AEs are reported in the case of a clinical trial. The FDA states that, to their knowledge, no drug candidate has been turned down for approval because of an adverse event that appeared in an expanded access program.

State law

As of September 2016, 32 states have passed right-to-try laws that permit manufacturers to provide experimental medicines to terminally ill people without US FDA authorization. Legal, medical, and bioethics scholars, including Jonathan Darrow and Arthur Caplan, have argued that these state laws have little practical significance because people can already obtain pre-approval access through the FDA's expanded access program, and because the FDA is generally not the limiting factor in obtaining pre-approval access.

Outside the United States

Outside the U.S., programs that enable access to drugs in the pre-approval and pre-launch phase are referred to by a variety of names including “ named patient programs,” “named patient supply” and “temporary authorization for use.” In the EU, named patient programs also allow people to access drugs in the time period between centralized European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval and launch in their home countries which can range from one year to eighteen months.Ericson, M., Harrison, K., Laure, N. & De Crémiers, F., Compassionate Use Requirements in the Enlarged European Union. RAJ Pharma, May 2005: 83.


External links

"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expanded_access, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Expanded_access&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany