Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Science, Technology and Society

Reader 1

Richard K. Worthington

Reader 2


Rights Information

© 2016 Molly Lin


This thesis explores the effectiveness of the Food and Drug Administration’s implementation of Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD), focusing on the low number of approval rates and repercussions of BTD for the development of new drugs for patients suffering serious life threatening illnesses. BTD, as an expedited review process, shows potential for improvement in its guidelines for necessary qualifications for BTD. Cutting costs, through a shortening in development time, and raising profits, through first mover status of new to market drugs, BTD is regarded by pharmaceutical executives as a tool to insure not only return on investment but also the rewards that accompanies a profitable blockbuster drug. Lessons learned from activism from 1980’s HIV/AIDS crisis show how advocates and “activist-experts” can rebalance and refocus more attention on the necessary beneficence for patients. A policy stipulation that insures all members: corporate, regulatory, and patient advocate, sit together at the decision making table will insure a more balanced discussion in regards to drug development.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.