N

ow that the Food and Drug Administration plans to fast-track generic drug applications in hopes of spurring competition and lowering medicines costs, a key question should be asked: Can the agency follow through? A new government report suggests that — yes, the FDA does have the wherewithal.

Thanks to a program in which industry pays fees so the FDA can more readily review drugs and inspect plants, the agency has already been reviewing generic drug applications at a faster clip. In fiscal year 2012, the agency spent 28 months on reviews, but that fell to 14 months by fiscal year 2015, according to a newly released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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