US senators propose FDA vouchers to expedite Ebola drug development
- Two U.S. senators have introduced a "voucher" bill that would give companies developing treatments for Ebola a chance to get a faster review, WSJ's Ed Silverman reports.
- The supply of the Ebola drugs that have been developed to date isn't enough to meet the demand of the current crisis. There is also a need for a preventive treatment option.
- Some lawmakers and commentators have criticized the lack of attention that has been paid to developing treatments for diseases, such as Ebola, that are found mainly in poor countries.
While Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, and Chimerix have all created treatments for Ebola, the cure rates are not 100% and there is simply not enough supply to meet demand. The real goal is to create a vaccine that can prevent Ebola from developing even after direct exposure.
Critics decry that fact that Ebola is not even on the list established by Congress in 2007 to encourage development of new medicines for tropical diseases. At this point, discovery and development efforts are being supported by the FDA, putting companies developing Ebola treatments in a good position to achieve a therapeutic breakthrough as soon as possible.