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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.

FTC Issues Report on Its Authority Under Section 5 of the FTC Act to Challenge Pharmaceutical Drug Price Increases

On June 24, 2019, in response to a directive from Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on the use of the FTC’s standalone authority under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to address high pharmaceutical prices. The committees had directed the FTC to examine, in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Congress’ intent regarding unfair methods of competition in Section 5 and in the FTC’s standalone Section 5 authority regarding unreasonable price increases, including those that occur over multiple years, on off-patent pharmaceutical drugs and biologics. The report broke down along party lines. The FTC’s Republican majority concluded that attempts by the Commission to rein in unreasonable drug prices using Section 5 alone, untethered from accepted theories of antitrust liability under the Sherman Act, are unlikely to find success in the courts. Democratic Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a dissenting statement in which they urged the FTC to examine ways to use its enforcement tools to restrain pharmaceutical pricing. Challenging high pharmaceutical drug prices has recently been a hotly debated political topic, and the report, along with the dissenting statement, will likely factor into that debate.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

FDA Adds Useful Information to the ANDA Paragraph IV Certifications List for Better Transparency and Predictability

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took another step to implement its Drug Competition Action Plan on June 18, 2019, by updating the information provided in the Paragraph IV Certifications List. The updated list will provide greater transparency regarding Paragraph IV certifications and potential exclusivities. That transparency will in turn lead to greater predictability for generic manufacturers regarding the potential timing of approval for their ANDAs and the potential degree of competition. The additional information will also give the public better insight into the status of generic regulatory exclusivities and the potential future availability of lower-cost generic alternatives for specific drug products.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

FDA Comments on the Public Hearing on Products Containing Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds and Extends Comment Period

At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) public hearing on May 31, 2019 (read more about the hearing), over 100 people presented to a panel of FDA stakeholders and to over 500 attendees. Last week, FDA stated in a post that it recognizes the “significant public interest in these products, for therapeutic purposes and otherwise” but reiterated that “there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products.”

The good news for the industry is that FDA “recognize[s] the need to be clear and open about where things stand, and about the efficient and science-based way in which we are moving forward,” including “being transparent and up-front” as they continue to collect data and information on CBD. FDA is taking an “Agency-wide, integrated, and collaborative approach” to regulating products made from CBD and is exploring potential pathways to market for CBD products. However, FDA still grapples with how to balance the desire for widespread availability of CBD products with the desire to preserve incentives for research and drug development of CBD products.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Supreme Court Rules That Judges, Not Juries, Must Decide Preemption of Failure-to-Warn Claims

On May 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a rare unanimous decision in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht, et al., holding that judges, not juries, must decide whether state law failure-to-warn claims against brand-name drug manufacturers are preempted by the FDA’s labeling regulations. In so holding, the Court further clarified the preemption standard set forth in an earlier decision, Wyeth v. Levine, concluding that such claims are preempted where a drug manufacturer can show “that it fully informed the FDA of the justifications for the warning required by state law and that the FDA, in turn, informed the drug manufacturer that the FDA would not approve changing the drug’s label to include that warning.”

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.