Trump is promising big changes at the FDA - here's how drugs are approved today


Trump pharma


President Trump meeting with representatives from the pharma industry on January 31, 2017.


At least one of President Trump's possible picks to head the Food and Drug Administration has a radical idea for when drugs should come to market.

Jim O'Neill, managing director at Mithril Capital, has said that he is in favor of approving drugs that are proven to be safe, even before they're shown to be actually effective.

Regardless of who Trump picks in the end, his interest in cutting regulation at the FDA is clear.

"We're going to be cutting regulations at a level that nobody's ever seen before," Trump said in a meeting with pharma executives on January 31. He estimated up to 80% of regulations will be slashed.


The FDA is responsible for regulating food and drugs. It's also responsible for regulating medical devices, blood donations, veterinary products, cosmetics, and tobacco. Trump's comments have left the drug industry concerned about what that deregulation could mean for the drug approval process.

As it exists right now, the FDA approval process can be a long and expensive. Here's a look at how it works currently.