According to a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal, sunscreen manufacturers can’t catch a break from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At issue is a 12-year backlog of approval for sunscreen ingredients that are widely available in other parts of the world, but not the United States.
This health and wellness issue, which keeps garnering media coverage, is particularly relevant to both NACDS chain and associate members because it impacts both pharmacy and the retail front end.
When the bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014, hopes were high that better sunscreens would soon be available. However, instead of expediting the process of getting blocked sunscreens on the market, the FDA responded by rejecting—rather than approving—the products more expeditiously.
According to the Journal editorial, the FDA is stalled because of potential complications that could arise when the new ingredients in sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. The agency wants manufacturers to conduct additional tests, further delaying the path to approval. Delaying the process, especially after the Surgeon General issued a call to action last year—citing skin cancer as a public health crisis—is unfortunate. The numbers are stark: Sixty-three thousand cases of melanoma were diagnosed last year, with a resulting economic impact of $8 billion.