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More Drugs

April 06, 1998|Barbara Marsh

Analysts predict that more new drugs will be unleashed on the U.S. market this year than last.

In the first six weeks of the year, the Food and Drug Administration cleared three new drugs--one more than in the comparable period last year--according to HSBC Group, a Washington-based investment company that tracks regulatory developments. And analysts predict the trend should continue as the agency attempts to keep up with demand by manufacturers.

Last year, the agency approved 39 new drugs, including three by Southern California drug makers: a treatment for psoriasis and acne by Allergan Inc. of Irvine; another for AIDS by La Jolla-based Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and a third for use in imaging of coronary artery disease by Gensia Sicor Inc., also of Irvine.

Last year's total was 14 fewer than the 53 approved in 1996, when the FDA put a priority on clearing up a backlog of drug applications.

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Barbara Marsh can be reached via e-mail at barbara.marsh@latimes.com

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