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Regulatory standards for some clinical trials may soon slacken, per a new statement from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. And though his words are vague, they’ve been enough to raise red flags in some corners.

Testifying today before a Congressional committee on the 21st Century Cures Act, Gottlieb sent a mixed message: He wants the agency to “remain steadfast to our gold standard for safety and efficacy,” while making the development of breakthrough products “more scientifically modern and efficient, to meet the urgent needs of patients.”


Gottlieb said that in some cases, “when there’s a clear and outsized treatment effect,” a cancer drug might get expedited approval — and its efficacy will be evaluated only in postmarket studies.

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  • Irrespective of the “gold standard” this is the “Golden Rule” of clinical drug development: A well designed and executed clinical plan can get an average drug approved. On the other hand you can have a great drug but if you screw up the clinical trials you can fail to get it approved.

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