Medical product sponsors are encouraged to include the patient perspective in their medical product development strategy to inform product design, augment regulatory submissions, argue for alternative clinical trial designs, or to support indications in specific patient populations. The goal is to create a patient-focused ecosystem that enables industry to integrate the patient voice throughout the medical product lifecycle. To this end, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published several guidance documents to provide industry with the expectations and opportunities for conducting patient-focused activities. From an industry perspective, the Center for Devices and Radiologic Health (CDRH) and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)/Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) patient-focused policies are complementary. The basic tenets promoted in all FDA patient-focused guidance could apply across therapeutic areas. However, there remain differences in these guidance documents across FDA centers, and there is no framework in place to provide industry with consistent recommendations. Without a coordinated patient-focused policy from the FDA, there is the potential for confusion and a lack of consistency among industry and regulatory decision-makers. The objective of this paper was to propose an alternative framework for patient-focused policy at the FDA, which recognizes the potential for different types of patient input to be used across therapeutic areas and medical product types. Further, these policies need to provide greater clarity on how patient input data is used, so that sponsors may navigate the opportunities to use patient input regardless of the FDA center under which their product is regulated. Creating consistent, coherent, and transparent FDA patient-focused policy will encourage sponsors to obtain patient input more often and with greater certainty of the value that these data may have to their medical product strategies.
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