Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has received more attention than perhaps ever before. While Americans anxiously awaited for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA and its regulatory scheme were ever-present topics on the news and in social media. The American population’s newfound familiarity with the FDA is especially pertinent in a medical device litigation context. As litigators well know, jurors already enter a courtroom with preconceived notions of medical device companies, the FDA and the relationship between the two. So how will this newfound knowledge of the FDA influence juror opinions? Put another way, what would happen if a jury participating in a medical device trial failed to hear any reference to the FDA at all? Potentially, the results would be catastrophic to device manufacturers.
On March 2, 2021, a New Jersey appellate court overturned two pelvic mesh jury verdicts totaling over $83 million dollars, holding that the trial courts committed reversible error by excluding all evidence related to the FDA clearance process. This decision represents a substantial victory for medical device manufacturers, particularly in light of the staggering jury verdicts that have been handed down over the past few years.
This ruling represents two separate cases that were consolidated for purposes of appeal. See Hrymoc et al., v. Ethicon Inc. et al., Docket No. A-005151-17, and McGinnis et al. v. C.R. Bard Inc. et al., Docket No. A-001038-18. In both cases, the respective juries found the medical device defendants liable for design and failure-to-warn defects that caused injuries to plaintiffs. In Hrymoc, the jury awarded the plaintiff and her husband $5 million in compensatory damages, and $10 million in punitive damages. Conversely, in McGinnis, the jury awarded the plaintiff and her husband $33 million in compensatory damages, and $35 million in punitive damages. Continue reading “510(k) Clearance Evidence Gains New Life After $83 Million Verdicts Overturned”
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently addressed the question of what pleading standard is required in Massachusetts to allege parallel state law claims involving medical devices to avoid preemption under the federal law regulating medical devices. The Court’s decision sheds light on the lack of consensus among state and federal courts on this issue, which may impact the time and resources that litigants and the courts expend on claims that may later prove to be meritless.
As background, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) must approve or clear medical devices before they can be marketed or sold to the public. The approval process employed depends upon the category of the medical device. Under the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (the “MDA”) to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the “FDCA”), devices are separated into three categories depending on the potential risks they present: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Class I devices “are those that present no unreasonable risk of illness or injury and therefore require only general manufacturing controls; Class II devices are those possessing a greater potential dangerousness and thus warranting more stringent controls; Class III devices ‘presen[t] a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury’ and therefore incur the FDA’s strictest regulation.” Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Comm., 531 U.S. 341, 343-44 (2001) (citation omitted); see also 21 U.S.C. § 360c. Class III devices include replacement heart valves, implanted cerebella stimulators, and pacemaker pulse generators, among other devices. Riegel v. Medronic, 552 U.S. 312, 316 (2008). Continue reading “Parallel or Preempted? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Highlights the Inconsistency Among Courts Regarding Pleading Standards for Parallel Claims Involving Medical Devices”
On June 4, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration implemented a compliance program, which explains how CGMP requirements are to be applied to combination products, the subject of a final guidance issued in January 2017. In particular, the new program document focuses on providing a framework for conducting inspections of manufacturers of single-entity and co-packaged finished combination products—led by either the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research or the Center for Devices and Radiological Health—that include both (i) drug and device; or (ii) biological product and device constituent parts. In addition, because the underlying 2017 Guidance was issued by OPD, CBER, CDER and CDRH collectively, the same principals would like apply to inspections in which CBER is the lead center.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.
On May 11, 2020, the FDA issued two new guidances for industry and investigators of drugs and biological products proposed for use against COVID-19. These two guidances, “COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: General Considerations for Pre-IND Meetings Requests for COVID-19 Related Drugs and Biological Products” and “COVID-19: Developing Drugs and Biological Products for Treatment of Prevention,” provide insight into the expectations of the FDA regarding new treatment drug development programs in the fight against COVID-19.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.
On January 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it will host an all-day public forum to discuss testing methods for asbestos in talc and cosmetic products containing talc on February 4, 2020.
According to the FDA, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss testing methods, terminology, and criteria that can be used to characterize and measure asbestos, as well as what the FDA preliminarily states may be “other potentially harmful elongate mineral particles (EMPs)” that may contaminate talc and cosmetics products that contain talc.
Read more in the Beauty and Cosmetics category of the Duane Morris Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products blog.
In 2016, it was muted monochromatic makeup. The next year ushered in a spectrum of sunset reds and dusty pinks, and 2018 was the year of technicolor highlighter. With bold beauty trends on the rise, it’s no surprise that 2019 has been declared the year of neon. Pinterest reports that searches for “neon eyeshadow” jumped a whopping 842% over the past few months. For fans, especially Gen Zers, the look is a celebration of fun, commitment-free expression: Daydream, create, wash it off, and repeat. But what happens when experimenting with the latest beauty trends could put your health at risk?
As for the brands that feature a disclaimer not to use on eyes, and then turn around and show models wearing the product on their eyes, Kelly Bonner, associate attorney at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia, had this to say: “All labelling must be truthful, not misleading, and contain all required information in a prominent and conspicuous place. Determining whether a label is misleading requires considering whether it contains deceptive representations, or leaves out material facts or consequences resulting from the intended use of the product.”
To read the full text of this article quoting Duane Morris attorney Kelly Bonner, please visit the Refinery29 website.
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.”
Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-dimensional (3D) printing, has been billed as the new industrial revolution. It is a lofty prediction; but we are seeing this prognostication materialize. Everyday consumer products ranging from children’s toys to running shoes are being 3D printed, sometimes right in consumer stores or at home. More and more manufacturers have begun or are exploring additive manufacturing options for their products. 3D-printed products even won an Oscar, when Ruth Carter won Best Costume Design for her work in the movie Black Panther, where portions of Carter’s costumes were 3D printed. From everyday consumer products, to its appearance on the red carpet, 3D printing has arrived.
Recognizing the potential advantages, endless possibilities, and unique manufacturing capabilities offered by 3D printing, more and more medical device manufacturers are entering this new field of technology. However, industry standards and regulations lag behind the pace of innovation. The unique aspects and potential availability of additive manufacturing raise novel products liability issues that may impact traditional product liability litigation doctrines. This article examines the current status of additive manufacturing as well as potential issues and uncertainties it raises for the future of product-liability litigation.
While the issue is a relatively narrow one, the Supreme Court’s analysis promises to shape the way courts around the country decide whether and how the decisions of regulatory agencies should be interpreted ― and here, predicted ― by juries.
How Did We Get Here?
The Fosamax litigation began in 2011, when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated several thousand lawsuits in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The common question raised by the plaintiffs was whether their use of Fosamax, a drug developed and manufactured by Merck for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, led to femur fractures and similar bone injuries, and further, whether Merck had properly warned of these potential risks.