EU pilot on drug repurposing

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Drug repurposing (finding new indications for existing authorized medicines) is increasingly prominent in the debate about improving access to medicines.

As stated in EHA’s position paper on access to affordable orphan medicines (Merlini et al., HemaSphere 2020), drug repurposing “can contribute to more sustainable innovation” and “allows the immediate transfer of research outcomes to clinical practice, greatly accelerating access to effective drugs.”

EHA, along with other medical societies and patient organizations, has been calling on EU policymakers to support drug repurposing research as well as for better regulatory facilitation of repurposing. The broad backing of the concept has translated into its incorporation in the ‘Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe’ and the recent announcement of an EU pilot project to support repurposing research by non-profit organizations and academia.

The pilot project is an initiative of EMA and the national medicines agencies to support non-profits and academia aiming to gather or generate evidence on the use of existing drugs in a new indication, with a view to obtaining regulatory approval.

Important dates:

Useful information on the repurposing of medicines in cancer can be found on the web site of the Anticancer Fund (ACF), the leading voice for repurposing in Europe. The ACF initiates and supports repurposing trials and actively promotes the inclusion of repurposed authorized medicines in guidelines. See:

Last Updated on Wednesday 09 February 2022.