Comment | Published:

Overcoming the legal and regulatory barriers to drug repurposing

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery | Download Citation


Drug repurposing has been proposed as a strategy to develop new therapies that has fewer risks, lower costs and shorter timelines than developing completely new drugs. However, the potential of this strategy has not been as widely realized as hoped, in part owing to legal and regulatory barriers. Here, we highlight these barriers and consider how they could be overcome.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    & Drug repositioning: identifying and developing new uses for existing drugs. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 3, 673–683 (2004).

  2. 2.

    Follow-on biologics: data exclusivity and the balance between innovation and competition. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 7, 479–488 (2008).

Download references

Author information


  1. University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

    • Alasdair Breckenridge
  2. University College London, London, UK.

    • Robin Jacob


  1. Search for Alasdair Breckenridge in:

  2. Search for Robin Jacob in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alasdair Breckenridge.

About this article

Publication history



Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing