The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of drugs it deems medically unnecessary and potentially dangerous for use in cancer patients.
The agency’s decision to ban all of these drugs from the market came after it heard a petition by the American Cancer Society.
But while the FDA made its decision, it also revealed it’s now taking a more active role in studying cancer growth, an area the agency says it’s never been able to fully engage with.
According to the new list, some of the drugs were previously approved for use against cancers of the liver and pancreas.
These drugs have been used to treat pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and other cancers.
But cancer researchers said the FDA’s list of banned cancer treatments is a big departure from what’s been happening in cancer research and has raised questions about the agency’s ability to effectively regulate the use of these new cancer drugs.
The FDA lists many cancer drugs as “orphan drugs,” which means they were never approved for cancer patients but are still on the FDA-approved list of potentially harmful or inappropriate uses.
Many of these orphan drugs were designed to treat conditions that didn’t exist in patients at the time they were first developed.
For example, the drug rifampin, originally developed to treat hepatitis C, was approved in 2002 and was designed to fight the virus, but the FDA later decided it was unsafe and needed to be removed from the list.
Another example is a drug called ritonavir, originally designed to control meningococcal disease, was banned in 2009 and is now being used to fight other types of infections.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the FDA has had a difficult time regulating these new drugs, especially since some were used to combat infections that didn.
“We know that orphan drugs are used to target cancer cells that are dormant,” said Dr. Richard Karp, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the study.
“There’s no evidence that they can effectively target cancer.”
When the FDA first announced the ban, the agency said it had been working with the American Society of Clinical Oncology to come up with a list to use for deciding whether to ban these drugs.
The list was to include cancer treatments for rare cancers like Hodgkin’s disease, breast cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.
But it also included other cancer treatments that are relatively common in the U.S., like chemotherapy for skin cancer, for example.
The FDA says the list should reflect what’s currently available for treating cancer patients in the United States.
A spokesperson for the FDA told the New York Times the agency had not yet decided on a new list for orphan drugs.
“The FDA is taking a comprehensive approach to the issue and is continuing to work closely with the scientific community to develop and share its recommendations with the Food and Drugs Administration,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The new list of cancer drugs has also raised questions.
A recent study published in Nature Medicine found the FDA banned 17 drugs that were used for cancer in the past two decades and that have been approved for many other types to treat many other conditions.
But many of these banned drugs have never been used for other cancers or conditions.
One drug that the FDA said was on the banned list was called pravastatin.
It was approved to treat cancer of the prostate and colon in the early 1990s and has been used successfully in patients with multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancers.
It has been shown to be effective in a number of cancer types, but its use in breast cancer was not approved by the FDA until 2013.
“The FDA did not have the ability to evaluate these orphan compounds in the context of cancer and other medical conditions in a timely and meaningful manner prior to this ban,” said Steven Nissen, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Biological Diversity, in a recent statement.
“This ban on these orphan therapies for cancer is an example of why it’s so important that FDA take the lead in ensuring that these medicines are safe for cancer use and that they are being evaluated for their potential benefits and risks.”
A spokesperson from the FDA also told the Times that the agency is not changing its decision to prevent these drugs in general.
“There is no reason to believe that the orphan drugs we’re currently prohibiting are likely to be more effective than the drugs currently on the approved list,” the agency spokesperson said.
“It’s also important to note that the drug list for the orphan compounds was established in an effort to protect patients from inappropriate and potentially harmful treatments.”