Real World Evidence 201 – The 21st Century Cures Act

RWE 201 – The 21st Century Cures Act

The 21st Century Cures Act (CURES 1.0), signed into law in the U.S. in December 2016, aimed to accelerate medical product development and foster innovation and advances in patient care. One of the key aspects of the Act is its focus on utilizing Real-World Evidence (RWE), transforming the way healthcare providers approach patient care and medical research.

RWE refers to data collected from various sources outside of traditional clinical trials, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), claims and billing data, patient registries, and patient-generated data. The 21st Century Cures Act recognizes the importance of RWE in improving the efficiency of the drug development process by supporting its use in the approval of new indications for approved drugs, as well as satisfying post-approval study requirements (i.e., PMCs and PMRs).

By leveraging RWE, the FDA can make regulatory decisions using more diverse and inclusive patient data, reflecting a broader patient population and potentially leading to more personalized and effective treatments. It also has the potential to reduce costs and time needed for traditional trials, accelerating the availability of life-saving drugs.

Critics of using RWE in regulatory decisions cite concerns about data quality, reliability, and potential biases. To address these concerns, the FDA has been working to develop guidance and standards for collecting and evaluating RWE, which we’ll explore later.

The 21st Century Cures Act encourages the use of real-world evidence (RWE) in regulatory decision-making in several ways:

[1] Developing an RWE Framework and Guidance: The Cures Act required the FDA to develop a framework and guidance for evaluating RWE in the context of regulating drugs and biologics. This helps support approvals of new indications for previously approved drugs and fulfil post-approval study requirements.

[2] Promoting the Use of RWE in Regulatory Decisions: The Act places additional focus on using RWE to support regulatory decision-making, such as approving new indications for medical devices without requiring new clinical trials.

[3] Modernizing Clinical Trial Designs: The Cures Act supports the modernization of clinical trial designs, including the use of RWE and clinical outcome assessments, which can lead to more efficient clinical trials and faster access to new treatments for patients.

In summary, the 21st Century Cures Act’s emphasis on RWE signifies a shift towards a more modern and flexible approach to medical product development. It fosters collaboration between regulatory agencies, healthcare providers, and industry to utilize real-world data in improving patient outcomes, speeding up innovation, and enhancing the efficiency of healthcare delivery.

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