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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Drugs

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FDA's Concerns About Unapproved Drugs

The Agency has serious concerns that drugs marketed without required FDA approval may not meet modern standards for safety, effectiveness, quality, and labeling. The FDA drug approval process provides a review of product-specific information that is critical to ensuring the safety and efficacy of a finished drug product. For instance, the applicant must demonstrate that its manufacturing processes can reliably produce drug products of expected identity, strength, quality, and purity. Furthermore, FDA's review of the applicant's labeling insures that health care professionals and patients have the information necessary to understand a drug product's risks and its safe and effective use.

There are prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs marketed illegally without FDA approval. The manufacturers of drug products have not received FDA approval and do not conform to a monograph for making OTC drugs. These manufacturers circumvent the FDA approval process. The lack of evidence demonstrating that these unapproved drugs are safe and effective is a significant public health concern.