America Is Losing the Race to Develop the Sunscreens of the Future
Partner Joel Roberson, who leads the Public Access to Sunscreens lobbying coalition, shared his knowledge with Bloomberg about the obstacles of approving new sunscreens in the United States.
Domestic sunscreen products are less effective and less appealing than those offered in other global markets. According to Bloomberg's article, Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada all have sunscreens that not only do a better job protecting against cancer-causing skin damage, but also feel better on the skin. These products are better at blocking UVA rays—which penetrate deeper into the skin than the UVB rays, which are more popularly protected against because they cause sunburn; UVA rays also have the ability to accelerate aging and cause genetic changes that lead to cancer.
Meanwhile, the FDA has not approved any new sun-filtering ingredients since the late 1990s and legislation aimed at speeding approvals for better protection is still pending in Congress. As a result, studies have shown that one in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, including 2.3 percent of Americans who will be diagnosed with the most deadly form of the disease: melanoma.
FDA reviews are still stalled, which the agency attributes to the lack of additional safety and efficacy data submitted by manufacturers. However, Mr. Roberson points out that this is because "makers are negotiating with the FDA over some of the study requirements."
One particular sticking point has been a complicated new test to determine skin absorption — a requirement that doesn’t apply to products already on the market, Roberson said.