Through a new pilot program, the US Food and Drug Administration aims to make it easier for physicians to get ahold of unapproved cancer treatments for their patients, the Washington Post reports.
As the Post notes, the way a doctor typically requests compassionate use of an unapproved drug is by first contacting the drug company for access. If the company agrees to provide the drug, the doctor files a protocol to an institutional review board and FDA determines whether or not to approve the request, which it typically does.
But with this Project Facilitate pilot program, FDA is to have a call center serve as a single point of contact for doctors trying to submit requests to the program and will help physicians navigate that process from the get-go by providing a more "concierge"-style service, the Post says.
While New York University School of Medicine's Alison Bateman-House tells the Post that FDA's initiative is "well intentioned," it's unclear whether it will help additional patients receive unapproved therapies, as the agency cannot compel drug companies to provide them.