The US Food and Drug Administration developed the Breakthrough Therapy designation to expedite the development and review of drugs that show a clear advantage over available therapy for serious conditions. Prior research has shown that physicians tend to misunderstand that a drug may receive a Breakthrough Therapy designation based on preliminary clinical evidence (eg, effect on a surrogate endpoint or intermediate clinical endpoint that is likely to predict clinical benefit). The objective of this article is to examine whether physicians’ familiarity with and interpretation of the Breakthrough Therapy designation have changed since a survey on the topic was published in 2016. We replicated three of the questions in that study and explored beliefs that a Breakthrough Therapy designation automatically qualifies a drug for accelerated approval. We also draw comparisons by specialization (oncologists vs. primary care physicians). In general, physicians remain more likely than not to misunderstand the Breakthrough Therapy designation.
Physician perceptions of the FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy designation