Tag Archives: COVID-19

COVID-19 Therapies: Protecting Against Government Intrusion

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, wreak havoc on our economy and force millions to social distance, shelter at home or even quarantine, scientists across the globe have turned their focus and expertise to developing new treatments and vaccines aimed at containing the effects of this virus.

The need for this life-saving work has never been more apparent or more urgent. We owe them a sincere debt of gratitude as our lives may literally depend on their success. And as the hard work of these scientists starts to bear fruit, the demand for these treatments will be so urgent and of such magnitude that no single company will likely be able to scale up, manufacture and distribute the treatment to all those in need.

The U.S. government has several options at its disposal to intervene―if necessary―to ensure a low priced treatment is rapidly made available to those in need.

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

Anti-Malaria Drugs Approved by FDA for COVID-19 Treatment Fall Within Liability Shield of the PREP Act

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) gave emergency approval this week to two (2) anti-malaria drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, to be used for treatment of COVID-19 patients.  Despite the limited studies as to the benefits of these drugs and the well-known risks of these drugs, the FDA took the position that, under the current circumstances, the potential benefits and effectiveness outweigh the risks.  While the FDA is conducting a trial as to the effectiveness of these drugs, millions of doses have already been shipped to hospitals nationwide for administration in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Brittany Wakim, please visit the Duane Morris Products Liability Blog.

COVID-19 Treatment Approvals Accelerated by New FDA CTAP Program

On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) introduced a specially designed “emergency program”—dubbed the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP)—to provide patients with faster access to new COVID-19 treatments. The CTAP allows FDA to “move new therapies to patients as quickly as possible, while at the same time finding out whether they are helpful or harmful.”

Given the rapidly increasing rate of COVID-19 confirmed cases and fatalities in the United States, efforts to streamline FDA processes may prove crucial to uncovering and delivering viable treatments.

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

FDA Virtual Town Hall for Laboratories and Manufacturers Developing Diagnostics Tests for COVID-19

FDA is hosting a virtual town hall April 1, 2020, at 12:15 p.m. Eastern for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers developing diagnostic tests for the COVID-19 virus. FDA intends to help answer technical questions about validation and development of tests and FDA’s recently issued Guidance from March 16, 2020 outlining FDA policy for development of diagnostic tests during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  FDA will host subsequent virtual town halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers each Wednesday of April at 12:15 p.m. Eastern. Registration not required. Details to join the call are available on the event page.

For additional information, please contact Dana J. AshFrederick R. BallPatrick C. Gallagher, Ph.D.Jonathan LourieVicki G. Norton, Ph.D., or Sandra G. Stoneman of Duane Morris’ LIfe Sciences Industry Group.

FDA Guidance Aims to Accelerate Availability of COVID-19 Tests

On March 16, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidance aimed at accelerating the availability of COVID-19 diagnostic tests developed by laboratories and commercial manufacturers. The guidance, which took immediate effect upon release, contains recommendations for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers regarding development of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 during the current public health emergency.

As the guidance recognizes, there is currently an outbreak of a respiratory virus named SARS-CoV-2, which causes a disease named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (hence COVID-19). The guidance also acknowledges that COVID-19 poses a high potential public health threat “both globally and to the United States.” Effectively responding to the COVID-19 outbreak requires “rapid detection of cases and contacts, appropriate clinical management and infection control, and implementation of community mitigation efforts.”

To that end, the guidance describes a number of important policies concerning the circumstances under which certain entities may perform laboratory testing or distribute test kits on a more expedient timeline than would normally be permitted under FDA regulations and policies.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Declaration Provides Immunity for Certain COVID-19 Pandemic Medical Countermeasure Activities

In an effort to encourage development of drugs, devices and biologics useful for the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of COVID-19 respiratory illness, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a declaration providing statutory immunity under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. This declaration is separate from the Public Health Emergency declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act on January 31, 2020, and is a part of the continued effort by the federal government to expedite development and distribution of medical products that can address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Declaring a public health emergency under the PREP Act provides covered persons with immunity from liability under federal or state law for all claims arising from administration to or use by an individual of a Covered Countermeasure. Under the statute, 42 U.S.C. § 247d-6d, immunity applies if the medical countermeasure:

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

U.S. Trade Rep. Implements New Section 301 Exclusions for Certain Medical Products in Wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) escalate, U.S. trade policy is aligning with the country’s medical needs. On March 10, 2020, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced new Section 301 exclusions for certain kinds of Chinese-origin medical products. Although the USTR previously levied Section 301 duties as high as 15 percent against these products, the announced exclusions exempt them from Section 301 duties until September 1, 2020. Significantly, the new exclusions are retroactive in nature so that entities can seek refunds of the Section 301 duties that they have paid on the excluded products dating back to September 1, 2019. Assuming the USTR continues prior procedures, it is expected that the importing community will be allowed to submit written comments to support extensions of the exclusions.

This round of exclusions follows previous rounds granted by the USTR, but it represents the first since the coronavirus has taken center stage for the Trump administration. Although the USTR did not identify the coronavirus or the nation’s healthcare infrastructure as a factor in deciding to grant certain exclusions, these most recent exclusions may have been influenced by the current medical emergency. Additionally, a prime consideration was whether a particular product is only available from China, among other reasons.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

FDA Postpones Foreign Inspections Through April in Response to COVID-19

FDA announced on March 10, 2020, that the agency is postponing most foreign inspections through April, effective immediately. FDA will consider whether to conduct inspections outside the U.S. deemed mission-critical on a case-by-case basis.

Postponing foreign inspection will likely delay product application reviews that require facility inspections. FDA has committed to trying to mitigate any potential impact that the COVID-19 outbreak and suspension of foreign inspections may have regarding FDA action on product applications. The extent of that impact will likely depend on how soon foreign inspections can resume and the resources, including personnel, available to FDA once they resume.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.