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Patients may gain access to unapproved or investigational medicines through clinical trials, expanded access programs (EAPs), or compassionate use (CU) before they are approved by regulatory authorities.
Clinical trials are research studies that are designed to determine if a medicine is safe and effective for patients. The FDA and medical experts agree that the best way for patients to obtain access to medicines before they are approved in the United States is through participation in a clinical trial.
To find out if a clinical trial exists for a specific medicine for a particular disease, visit clinicaltrials.gov. For questions about Genentech trials, contact our Trial Information Support Line at 888-662-6728.
EAPs allow a limited group of patients, who meet specific criteria, to have access to a specific investigational medicine. Expanded access programs are studies managed by the company and follow a specific protocol, which is developed in consultation with the FDA.
To find open expanded access programs, search "expanded access programs" on clinicaltrials.gov.
Learn more about our criteria for opening EAPs.
Compassionate Use is a way to provide an investigational medicine to an individual patient on humanitarian grounds.
Learn more about criteria for consideration of access.
If an expanded access program is open, and if you meet the protocol inclusion criteria, you should work with your doctor to enter that protocol.
If you are seeking access to an investigational medicine via CU, follow these steps:
The request for access to a Genentech investigational medicine can only be considered if the patient's qualified treating doctor makes a formal request and is committed to, and supportive of, the requested treatment. We anticipate that it will take no longer than 3 business days to acknowledge receipt of the request.
Genentech is committed to a fair and impartial evaluation of each request for access to our medicines. Therefore, all decisions are based solely on clinical circumstances and are guided by the principles outlined above.
Whenever possible, patients will be referred to ongoing clinical trials as the primary way to access investigational medicines.
Decisions regarding potential access to investigational or unapproved medicines can only be made, in certain circumstances, after in-depth discussions between Genentech's clinical teams and the patient's qualified treating doctor acting on his or her behalf.
As described by the FDA, EAPs and CU are only available for specific patients with no other available treatment options, including clinical trials, and are not without risks.
These programs only apply to medicines not yet approved by the FDA. A doctor must decide whether the potential benefit outweighs the risk of receiving an investigational or unapproved medicine, based on the individual patient's medical history.
Additionally, the FDA requires Institutional Review Board (IRB) (ethics committee that approves and monitors clinical trials involving humans) at the patient's treating hospital or clinic to review and approve the use of the medicine before a company can provide it.