The FDA Kept Up Its Drug Approval Streak In 2019

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This is the web version of Brainstorm Health Daily, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top health care news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Good afternoon, readers.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday—and saw our note about the upcoming Brainstorm Health conference in 2020.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seemingly been on a mission these past few years to get as many drug approved as possible.

Don’t take it from me—look at the agency’s own records of new approvals in 2019. Through December 23 of 2019, the FDA cleared 48 new treatments for conditions ranging from cancer to muscular dystrophy to schizophrenia. There were 46 “novel” treatments (the kind that aren’t based on existing drugs) approved in 2017, which was a record at the time. In 2018, there was a high of 59 novel treatments. This is a pretty big spike compared to 2010, when just 21 new, novel drugs were approved.

We’ve written about most of these recent drug approvals—and some of the controversies surrounding them. The pace of FDA green lights presents an opportunity for the industry—and hope for patients—but also raises questions about how regulators should balance their responsibilities to the public at large and cold, hard science.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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