PBMs Must Say Goodbye to Manufacturer Rebates

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play a significant role in U.S. drug pricing, yet their existence is little known to those outside of the pharmaceutical and insurance arenas. In an effort to modify one of the largest drivers in increasing drug costs―rebates paid to PBMs by drug manufacturers―the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on November 20, 2020, published three final rules that, most notably, declared that these rebates are no longer protected by the safe harbors to the anti-kickback statute.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

HHS OIG’s Special Fraud Alert on Speaker Programs by Pharma and Device Companies

On November 16, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert addressing speaker programs presented by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Such programs, at which companies may pay physicians or other health care professionals (HCPs) for speeches or presentations about drugs and devices in addition to providing remuneration to attendees, are frequently sponsored by pharmaceutical and device companies seeking to provide education regarding their products. Highlighting what it called “inherent fraud and abuse risks,” OIG’s Special Fraud Alert expressed concerns surrounding the offer or payment of remuneration from pharmaceutical and device companies to physicians or other HCPs associated with such programs.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Could COVID-19 Data Help Medical Device Manufacturers Accelerate the FDA Approval Process?

Medical device shortages and shortcomings during the COVID-19 pandemic have led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to many medical devices manufacturers. Were it not for these EUAs, these manufacturers would be unable to market their devices, as their FDA applications would still be pending. Once the present “emergency” ends, these EUAs will expire, and manufacturers will again be unable to market their devices for the indications cleared under the EUA.

Still, the real-world evidence (RWE) gained about these devices while marketed under the EUA need not be lost with the passing of the pandemic. Once the pandemic ends, manufacturers should be able to use the data collected to support their pending applications for market clearance and for new indications for already-cleared devices.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partners Frederick R. Ball and Erin M. Duffy, please visit the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association website.

3D Printing in the Life Sciences: Mitigating the Risks

With each passing year, the long-predicted aspirational advantages of 3D printing in the life sciences industry become a reality.  Forecasts of large scale printing operations at or near major hospitals are fulfilled. Visions of bioprinted organs have become a reality. 3D printing is reaching the lofty potential projected by the life sciences industry years ago. However, the topic of litigation risks with 3D printing in the life science industry is often overlooked. […]

Yet, the widespread use of additive manufacturing by companies and individuals outside of the life sciences industry also underscores the potential litigation risks with 3D printing.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Sean Burke, please visit the 3DHeals website.

FDA Clarifies Evidence Used to Determine “Intended Use” of Medical Products

On September 23, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a proposed rule amending the agency’s regulations concerning “intended uses.” While the proposed rule does not signal a fundamental change in FDA’s position that all relevant sources of evidence may be considered, it attempts to make clear what sort of evidence is not on its own sufficient to demonstrate a product’s intended use.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

FDA’s New MAPP Shows the Route to Changing Ownership of Generic Drug Applications

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a new Manual of Policies and Procedures (MAPP), in which it explains the Office of Generic Drugs’ (OGD) policy on facilitating changes to generic drug applications and updating the Orange Book to reflect those changes.

MAPP 5242.1 makes clear that the policies, processes and procedures for changing ownership of an application differ based on whether the change is effected by a simple transfer of ownership or whether it results from a corporate merger or acquisition.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

New Guidance Reveals FDA’s Thinking on Imposition of Civil Monetary Penalties for Violations of Clinical Trial Reporting Requirements

In August 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance on the imposition of civil monetary penalties for violations of clinical trial reporting requirements. The new guidance is welcome insight for members of the pharmaceutical, biologics and medical device industries, particularly in light of the race to develop—and convince FDA of the safety and effectiveness of—COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic tests.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

FDA Clarifies Policy on Scope of Review of Multiple-Function Device Products

On July 29, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance containing its current thinking, policies and recommendations relating to the manufacturing and marketing of “multiple function” device products—products comprised of at least one FDA-regulated “device” function and at least one “other function”—a function that either does not meet the definition of a “device” under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act; that is not subject to premarket approval; or for which the FDA has expressed an intention not to enforce regulatory compliance.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Juxtaposing Helsinn with Pharmaceutical Trademarks

Ryan Smith, Karen Kline

Duane Morris LLP

Pharmaceutical branded drug developers interested in obtaining trademark protection should take note of the Supreme Court holding in Helsinn v. Teva that patent eligibility can be defeated by a private sale of a pharmaceutical drug from a manufacturer to a drug distributor (Helsinn Healthcare S.A., v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, INC. (139 S.Ct. 628 (2019)). Trademark protection via registration is often sought for branded pharmaceutical drugs when seeking to establish a market for new pharmaceutical therapies.

Trademarks for pharmaceutical drugs are subject to the requirements of two entities – the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) trademark requirements when seeking trademark registration and those of the Office of Postmarketing Drug Risk Assessment (“OPDRA”). The OPDRA, a sub-group of the Center for Drug Evaluation Research (“CDER”) of the U.S. Federal Drug Administration reviews and either approves or rejects new drug trademarks (also known as proprietary names) before they can be marketed.  The OPDRA’s requirements for a pharmaceutical trademark are separate and distinct from those of the USPTO, and are not so impacted by the Helsinn decision as are those of the USPTO.

One of the USPTO requirements for issuance of a trademark registration is the use in commerce of the mark.  An applicant must, at time of applying for registration or within a certain time thereafter, prove that the mark is used in commerce.  A trademark registration for a pharmaceutical drug will therefore require use in commerce of the pharmaceutical drug, but oftentimes an application for trademark registration will be submitted well in advance of a market launch.  Such a requirement can be met by certain pre-market activities, such as, inter alia, by use of the drug in clinical studies, in distribution to clinical sites in preparation for a clinical trial, or even pre-approval sales to a distributor.  Distribution or sales, unfortunately, may present a risk to the patentability of the pharmaceutical compound or uses thereof discovered after the date of the transaction.

Enter Helsinn v. Teva

Over 18 months ago, the Supreme Court held that “an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party who is obligated to keep the invention confidential can qualify as prior art under § 102(a).”  The subject sale consisted of two agreements: a license agreement and a supply and purchase agreement.  Such commercial transactions could pose a bar to patent applications filed more than a year after the date of the agreements (e.g., for claims directed to effects observed in clinical trials, to dosages, or to combination therapies).  For additional details on Helsinn, see our earlier blog on this topic  here.

The Helsinn ruling that a secret sale can qualify as a prior sale for purposes of patent law is in tension with the USPTO’s acceptance of trademark specimens from pre-clinical or clinical trials to satisfy the “use in commerce” requirement for trademark protection.  A pharmaceutical trademark applicant may face the challenge of avoiding Helsinn while also trying to rely on specimens used in commerce to obtain trademark registration.  Should the deciding court find that the trademark standard for “use in commerce” equates to a patent “sale” or “public use”, said use in commerce could potentially defeat patentability.  Pharmaceutical companies would face the dilemma: patent or trademark?

However, there may be another method of satisfying the trademark requirements while avoiding patentability-defeating sales or disclosures.  The term “use in commerce” for trademark requirements, includes use in connection with “goods [which] are sold OR TRANSPORTED in commerce” (emphasis added).[1]  Activities classified from the trademark perspective as “transported in commerce” which do not qualify as an “on-sale” patent bar might therefore be an elegant solution to the dilemma.  Of course, facts matter…

It is instructive to pharmaceutical drug manufacturers seeking patent and trademark protection to be aware of the relative timing for applying for pharmaceutical drug trademarks, distributing samples for, and conducting clinical trials, and applying for patents directed to claims identified during the clinical trials.  As a takeaway, a trademark applicant may want to (1) evidence the transport of a sample containing packaging bearing the mark across state lines to satisfy the trademark use in commerce requirements, and (2) file a U.S. patent application before commercial activity begins for satisfying trademark registration requirements.

 

[1] Section 45 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1127, defines “commerce” as “all commerce which may lawfully be regulated by Congress.”  Section 45 defines “use in commerce” as follows:

The term “use in commerce” means the bona fide use of a mark in the ordinary course of trade, and not made merely to reserve a right in a mark.  For purposes of this Act, a mark shall be deemed to be in use in commerce–

(1) on goods when—

(A) it is placed in any manner on the goods or their containers or the displays associated therewith or on the tags or labels affixed thereto, or if the nature of the goods makes such placement impracticable, then on documents associated with the goods or their sale, and

(B) the goods are sold or transported in commerce, and…

 

Discussion of Nondrug CBD Products Omitted on New FDA Draft Guidance on Cannabis-Related Clinical Research

On July 21, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance outlining the agency’s current thinking on the development of drugs containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. The new guidance is disappointing to many in the cannabis industry because it does not provide insight into the FDA’s views on the marketing of nondrug, hemp-derived CBD products.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.