PEMBROKE, MASS. — They call themselves the “fierce moms:” women who formed an alliance out of desperation and need. All have children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare and fatal disease. And for nearly four years they have single-mindedly lobbied politicians and federal regulators to speed up approval of experimental medicines.
“I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this since the days of AIDS and HIV activism,” said Ira Loss, who tracks the pharmaceutical industry for Washington Analysis, a consulting firm.
The fierce moms and other parents have notched some key victories: A Food and Drug Administration panel of experts will hold a pair of widely anticipated meetings to review two drugs designed to the slow the muscle wasting associated with DMD. The first occurs next Tuesday when a treatment from BioMarin Pharmaceutical will be considered. The other takes place in January to examine a drug developed by Sarepta Therapeutics.