FDA’s 2016 Approvals of New Drugs, Formulations, Strengths & More

After 2 years of sky-high approval numbers, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research approved 22 novel drugs in 2016, down from the 19-year high of 45 in 2015. The FDA also approved many new dose forms, formulations, combination products and vaccines.


This week, PharmaCompass, shares its analysis of the new drug approvals by the FDA in 2016.

Reasons behind the low approvals in 2016

Of the 22 novel drugs approved by the FDA, the FDA approved 9 products with orphan designation, in line with the industry’s recent focus on rare diseases. However, as the industry shifts its focus towards biotechnology, only 7 of the novel products approved were biologic applications.  

The 9 orphan designees approved (41% of all new drug approvals) were significantly lower than the 21 (47%) orphan designees approved in 2015 and 17 (41%) in 2014. FDA’s approval of 4 (18%) oncology drugs in 2016, was also down from the 14 (31%) approvals in 2015, 9 (22%) in 2014 and 9 (33%) in 2013.

The reasons for the low 2016 approval count, have been attributed to the agency approving five drugs in 2015 that actually had approval action dates in 2016 and an increase in the number of drugs that the agency rejected. 

A key reason for the rejections was the sponsors’ failure to comply with good manufacturing practice regulations.

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