Drugs

How Drugs are Developed and Approved

The mission of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is to ensure that drugs marketed in this country are safe and effective. CDER does not test drugs, although the Center's Office of Testing and Research does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness.

CDER is the largest of FDA's six centers. It has responsibility for both prescription and nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. For more information on CDER activities, including performance of drug reviews,  post-marketing risk assessment, and other highlights, please see About the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The other five FDA centers have responsibility for medical and radiological devices, food and cosmetics, biologics, veterinary drugs, and tobacco products. 

Some companies submit a new drug application (NDA) to introduce a new drug product into the U.S. Market.  It is the responsibility of the company seeking to market a drug to test it and submit evidence that it is safe and effective. A team of CDER physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other scientists reviews the sponsor's NDA containing the data and proposed labeling

Bringing Nonprescription Drug Products to the Market Under an OTC Monograph

OTC drugs can be brought to the market following the NDA process as described above or under an OTC monograph. Each OTC drug monograph is a kind of "recipe book" covering acceptable ingredients, doses, formulations, labeling, and, in some cases, testing parameters. OTC drug monographs are continually updated to add additional ingredients and labeling as needed. Products conforming to a monograph may be marketed without FDA pre-approval. The NDA and monograph processes can be used to introduce new ingredients into the OTC marketplace. For example, OTC drug products previously available only by prescription are first approved through the NDA process and their "switch" to OTC status is approved via the NDA process. OTC ingredients marketed overseas can be introduced into the U.S. market via a monograph under a Time and Extent Application (TEA) as described in 21 CFR 330.14. For a more thorough discussion of how OTC drug products are regulated visit  FDA laws, regulations and guidances that affect small business. Information is also provided on financial assistance and incentives that are available for drug development.

CDER Small Business and Industry Assistance (CDER SBIA)

Drug sponsors which qualify as small businesses can take advantage of special offices and programs designed to help meet their unique needs. The CDER Small Business and Industry Assistance (CDER SBIA) Webpage provides links to FDA laws, regulations and guidances that affect small business. Information is also provided on financial assistance and incentives that are available for drug development.

Page Last Updated: 10/04/2018
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