Officials at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research are taking the precautionary step of canceling or postponing advisory committee meetings and limiting staff travel in an effort to help curb the spread of the COVID-19.
“The outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, that started in China is spreading to other countries, including the United States,” CDER Director Janet Woodcock, MD, said in a memo to CDER staff. “As a precaution, FDA is canceling foreign official agency travel and limiting domestic travel to mission critical only, effective immediately and through April.”
Additionally, the memo notes that “CDER-organized external meetings, conferences, and workshops will be postponed or canceled from March 10 through April.”
“To mitigate the impact on our work, I encourage you to hold meetings with external stakeholders through teleconference, when possible,” she wrote.
Thus far, only a few CDER events on the FDA’s meetingare listed as being canceled or postponed. Some of the affected meetings include a March 10 public meeting on patient-focused drug development for stimulant-use disorder, a March 11 meeting of the Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee, and a March 30 public meeting on patient-focused drug development for vitiligo, all of which are postponed until further notice. The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research also has postponed until further notice its U.S.–Japan Cellular and Gene Therapy Conference, originally scheduled for March 12.
Dr. Woodcock also noted in the memo that in relation to inspections, “we plan to use technology and established agreements with our foreign counterparts to minimize disruptions to the drug supply chain and to applications under review, so that Americans can continue to get their medications.”