The Food and Drug Administration is putting a top priority on development of drugs to combat AIDS, even if it means delaying the processing of applications for other types of pharmaceuticals, FDA Commissioner Frank Young said Friday.
Young said the agency is putting "the highest possible priority" on clearing candidate drugs for treating acquired immune deficiency syndrome, but he said the war on the fatal disease will be a long and difficult one.
"We're leaving no stone unturned and using whatever resources we need" to help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs that can battle AIDS and the diseases that often go with AIDS, he said at a news conference.
Young said the concentration on AIDS has caused a backlog in processing applications for some other types of drugs, but that it is unavoidable.
"We feel it's important that people have access to drugs as soon as possible," he said. "We view the FDA as a munitions factory turning out safe and effective bullets as soon as possible in this war on AIDS."
Young said the FDA granted approval for azidothymidine, the first drug developed for specific treatment of AIDS, within 107 days of application, an agency record. There now are 164 candidate drugs in clinical trials for the treatment or diagnosis of AIDS, or for the treatment of AIDS-related disease complexes, he said.