Impact of the US FDA Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) Guidance on Drug Development

The FDA guidance on application of the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) for waiver of in-vivo bioequivalence (BE) studies was issued in August 2000. Since then, this guidance has created world-wide interest among biopharmaceutical scientists in regulatory agencies, academia, and industry towards its implementation and further expansion. This article describes how the review implementation of this guidance was undertaken at the FDA and results of these efforts over last dozen years or so across the new, and the generic, drug domains are provided. Results show that greater than one hundred sixty applications were approved, or tentatively approved, based on the BCS approach across multiple therapeutic areas; an additional significant finding was that at least 50% of these approvals were in the CNS area! These findings indicate a robust utilization of the BCS approach towards reducing unnecessary in-vivo BE studies and speeding up availability of high quality pharmaceutical products. The article concludes with a look at the adoption of this framework by regulatory and health policy organizations across the globe, and FDA’s current thinking on areas of improvement of this guidance.