Thompson at Biotechnology Conference Promises Faster Drug Reviews
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Monday in a speech at the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in San Francisco "vowed" to help speed the approval process for new medications, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Thompson also urged the biotech industry to continue developing innovative medical technologies. He said that since his time at HHS, federal officials have streamlined the process to give priority status to certain drugs, which reduces their approval time. He added, "We want to work with you to make it even faster." Thompson said that some new technologies from the biotech industry had strained older procedures at FDA and that HHS this summer will issue new rules accounting for such advances and offering clear guidance to drug companies. According to the Journal Sentinel, "[u]sing new technology to improve health care was a theme Thompson touched on repeatedly during his speech." He also spoke of initiatives to encourage hospitals to use new electronic medical record systems and place bar codes on drug packages. He said, "These improvements will prevent hundreds of thousands of medical errors and will save the health care system billions of dollars and thousands of lives" (Gertzen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.