On November 25, 2019, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had issued warning letters to 15 U.S. businesses engaged in the sale of products containing cannabidiol (CBD); that it had published a revised Consumer Update detailing safety concerns about CBD products; and that it “cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” for use in human or animal food. These actions and statements by FDA cut against industrywide hopes that FDA might soon realign its enforcement policy in light of market realities.
FDA’s Bark May Be Worse Than Its Bite: Revised Guidance Permits Certain Compounding of Animal Drugs from Bulk Drug Substances
On November 19, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released revised guidance concerning the compounding of animal drugs from bulk drug substances—in particular, the circumstances under which the FDA would not plan to take enforcement action for certain violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) when pharmacists and veterinarians compound or oversee the compounding of animal drugs from bulk drug substances. The guidance is intended to replace a withdrawn draft guidance concerning the compounding of animal drugs initially released in May 2015.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
FDA Issues Final Guidance on Data Integrity and Compliance with Drug CGMP
Data integrity means complete, consistent and accurate recording of data. This requires an original or true copy of contemporaneously recorded data that is attributable to a specific individual and is legible and accurate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers data integrity to be critical throughout the current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) to ensure product quality and public safety. In response to an increased number of data integrity violations, which have led to warning letters, import alerts and consent decrees, the FDA published a draft guidance on Data Integrity and Compliance with CGMP on April 14, 2016. After considering comments to the draft guidance, the FDA has now issued its Final Guidance on Data Integrity and Compliance with Drug CGMP on December 12, 2018. The Final Guidance is in a Q&A format and provides detailed instructions to the industry that reflects the FDA’s current thinking on data integrity.
DOJ Implements 2018 Granston Memo on False Claims Act
In early 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new policy encouraging prosecutors handling False Claims Act (FCA) cases to seek dismissal of qui tam complaints that threaten the government’s interests. However, it was unclear how and to what extent prosecutors would carry out that directive. Now a year later, federal prosecutors appear to be embracing the new policy—and it is already having an effect on one case involving a drug manufacturer.
The January 2018 Granston memorandum outlined the Department’s new approach to handling FCA prosecutions in “in light of the government’s limited resources.” Under the new policy, prosecutors are encouraged to move to dismiss qui tam claims as a way to “advance the government’s interests, preserve limited resources, and avoid adverse precedent.” This marked a departure from the Department’s previous policy of rarely exercising its statutory authority to dismiss such claims. To guide prosecutors, the memorandum offered a nonexhaustive list of factors as to when a motion to dismiss a qui tam claim is proper. Those factors include: (1) “curbing meritless qui tams”; (2) “preventing parasitic or opportunistic qui tam actions”; (3) “preventing interference with agency policies and programs”; (4) “controlling litigation brought on behalf of the United States”; (5) “safeguarding classified information and national security interests”; (6) “preserving government resources”; and (7) “addressing egregious procedural errors.” Overall, the memorandum instructed prosecutors to seek dismissal when the litigation does not serve the government’s interests.