Discovery Ruling in District of Minnesota May Have Far-Reaching Implications for FCA Defendants

In a concise, six-page discovery order, a federal judge in Minneapolis may have just started the proverbial shifting of tectonic plates undergirding routine defense procedures in False Claims Act (FCA) litigation by requiring a defendant in an FCA lawsuit to produce the information provided to the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the DOJ’s process of determining whether to pursue the matter.

The FCA creates liability for persons or entities found to have knowingly submitted false claims to the government or having caused others to do so. Like some other federal laws, the FCA creates a private right of action; under the act, a private party—a whistleblower or “relator”—may bring a qui tam action on behalf of the government. When initially filed, the court seals the complaint pending the government’s investigation of the case. If the government chooses, it may intervene and pursue the matter. If not, the relator may pursue the case on its own. (In either case, the relator is entitled to a percentage of the government’s recovery.)

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

FDA Warns Florida Company: CBD Oil is Not a Dietary Supplement

Despite recent bipartisan calls on the FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD products, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration appears to be adhering to the status quo, at least with respect to issuing warning letters to companies deemed noncompliant with existing regulations. Case in point: on September 18, 2019, the FDA issued a warning letter (posted to the FDA’s website last week) to Alternative Laboratories, a dietary supplement manufacturer based in Naples, Florida.

According to the letter, the FDA conducted an inspection of Alternative’s dietary supplement manufacturing facility over five days in May and June; the inspection focused on the adequacy of labels for certain products manufactured and distributed by the company.

To read the full text of this blog post by Duane Morris attorney Justin M. L. Stern, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Blog.

FDA’s New Medical Device Rules Speed Up Review Process

This was originally published in Law360.

With the advancements in technology and the advent of artificial intelligence, the medical device industry is flourishing. But regardless of the type of technology involved, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must clear the device for marketing before any commercialization of a medical device.

There are typically three mechanisms for seeking FDA clearance for a medical device: a 510(k) submission, a de novo classification request and a premarket approval application. The FDA will not accept a 510(k) application unless the applicant can demonstrate that the device is at least as safe and effective (i.e., substantially equivalent to) a device that has already obtained FDA clearance (i.e., a predicate device).

For the full article by Frederick R. Ball and Carolyn A. Alenci, visit the Duane Morris LLP website.

Duane Morris Recognized by LMG Life Sciences Awards for Role in Hatch-Waxman Impact Case of the Year

Duane Morris LLP was honored for its role in a Hatch-Waxman Impact Case of the Year at the Legal Media Group (LMG) Life Sciences Awards 2019. The case was Teva Pharmaceuticals et al v. Sandoz et al. (Fed. Circ. 2018), where the firm represented Amneal.

Duane Morris was also shortlisted as a “Firm to Watch – Financial & Corporate” and partner Anthony J. Fitzpatrick in Boston was named a finalist for “General Patent Litigator of the Year – New England.”

For more information, read the news release.

BYOD and eCOA: A Match Made in Heaven?

This was originally published in the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Update magazine.

Patient-focused drug development and the selection and development of Clinical Outcome Assessments (COA) continue to be a focus for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At the same time, we continue to see an increase in technology available at our fingertips and on our wrists. As electronic capture of data becomes more robust and systems to ensure its integrity are put into place, FDA has started to embrace electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOA). This increase opens up a plethora of new data sources that can be used to facilitate and enhance clinical trials, including the use of a study subject’s own devices (a/k/a “bring your own device” (BYOD)). This article discusses eCOA, BYOD, and FDA’s guidance on their use in clinical studies.

For the full article by Frederick R. Ball, Carolyn A. Alenci and Sandra Stoneman, visit the Duane Morris LLP website.

DEA Announcement on Improving Access to Marijuana Research

On August 26, 2019, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a press release announcing “it is moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States.” This announcement comes in the midst of a growing demand for marijuana for medical and scientific research. Several years ago, in an August 11, 2016, press release, DEA first announced its intention to “expand… the number of DEA-registered marijuana manufacturers” because “only one entity was authorized to produce marijuana to supply researchers in the United States: the University of Mississippi.” Since that announcement, 33 entities have applied to DEA for a marijuana manufacturer registration. However, the approval process was stalled during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ term in office, and to date no new applications have been approved. Meanwhile, the number of entities registered by DEA to conduct research on marijuana, marijuana extracts or marijuana derivatives has jumped from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019. Thus, while demand for marijuana for research purposes has increased sharply, the number of suppliers has remained stagnant.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Much of Oklahoma’s $572 Million Opioid Case Likely to Be Replicated Elsewhere, But Unique Cause of Action May Not

On August 26, 2019, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, District Judge Thad Balkman delivered his highly anticipated ruling in the state of Oklahoma’s lawsuit against certain pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing and marketing prescription opioid medications. Because the other pharmaceutical companies named in the state’s case settled with the Attorney General’s Office earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals remained the primary subjects of the evidence at trial and the focus of the attention surrounding Judge Balkman’s then-forthcoming ruling.

As Judge Balkman stated in the published judgment, the defendants knowingly and misleadingly marketed their highly addictive prescription opioids, and by doing so caused harm for which the state could seek redress, as their “actions annoyed, injured, or endangered the comfort, repose, health or safety of Oklahomans.”

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

OTC Personal Products Manufacturer Cited by FDA for Various Regulatory Violations

On August 20, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had sent and posted a warning letter to an over-the-counter drug manufacturer citing “significant” violations of current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) and also issued a news release in connection with this letter. The letter was sent to NingBo Huize Commodity Co., Ltd., a China-based manufacturer of health and beauty products such as sunscreen lotion, shampoo, hand sanitizer and lip balm, following FDA’s inspection of the facility in March 2019. In particular, the warning letter, and concurrent press release and import alert, show that FDA continues to have significant concerns related to data integrity and will harshly sanction companies that falsify data.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

CMS Issues Proposed Regulations to Expand Open Payments System Reporting

In the Federal Register posted on August 14, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed regulations that, if finalized, would expand the Open Payments reporting requirements initially introduced under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The Open Payments program sheds light on some of the payments (and other transfers of value) made from certain drug, device, biologicals and medical supply manufacturers to covered recipient physicians and teaching hospitals. Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the applicable manufacturers must report certain payments made to the covered recipients through the Open Payments program on an annual basis. Such disclosures are available to the public. The categories of payments or transfers of value that must be disclosed include: research, honoraria, gifts, grants, travel expenses, and marketing, education or research for a specific covered drug or device.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

FDA Releases Guidance on REMS Modifications and Revisions

On July 9, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a final guidance on changes to approved Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). For certain drugs, the FDA may require a REMS as an additional risk management plan to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks. The final guidance describes the three different types of changes to an approved REMS, how application holders should submit changes to REMS, and how the FDA will process submissions from application holders for changes to REMS.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.