Occasionally a glimmer of common sense pierces the Slough of Despond in Washington. Last week, the industry was blessed with two glimmers, as an FDA advisory panel voted not to endorse an agency proposal to make approval of drugs even harder, and the NIH continued on its course to abandoning the reasonable pricing clause in CRADAs.

On the CRADA front, NIH Director Harold Varmus told the National Task Force on AIDS Drug Development that the agency had concluded that reasonable pricing provisions should be dropped from the model CRADA document, with the proviso that it would retain the right to include similar provisions in cases where it has made a large contribution to a drug's development.