FDA Law Update

Current Issues Affecting FDA-Regulated Companies

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ) of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) recently published a White Paper laying out a framework to evaluate the Quality Management Maturity (QMM) of pharmaceutical manufacturing sites. The White Paper supports CDER’s long-held vision for pharmaceutical quality in the 21st century, described as a “maximally efficient, agile, flexible manufacturing sector” that is able to reliably produce high-quality drug products without extensive regulatory oversight.[1] The Agency is hosting a two-day workshop on May 24 and 25 for stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed QMM, which may
Continue Reading FDA White Paper Signals Shift to Performance-Based Reviews of Mature Quality Systems

On May 4, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to five companies it asserts are illegally marketing products labeled as containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Simultaneously, FDA issued a new consumer update “5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC.”  The consumer update and warning letters are a continuation and expansion of FDA’s efforts to warn the public about products that are not approved under the FDCA and to rein in the rapidly expanding market of products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids. 
Continue Reading Warning! FDA Issues Warning Letters for Products Containing Delta-8 THC

On March 31, 2022, the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an untitled letter to Bausch Health Companies Inc. regarding a promotional video and healthcare professional website for DUOBRII™ (halobetasol proprionate and tazarotene) lotion, indicated for topical treatment of plaque psoriasis in adults (DUOBRII). The video[1] content aired on a popular television network and the website[2] content was directed at healthcare professionals.  This is only the second untitled letter from OPDP this year, both of which were focused on false and misleading promotional messaging.
Continue Reading FDA Issues Untitled Letter to Bausch Health Companies for Misleading Statements Relating to DUOBRII™

On Thursday, March 16, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) issued OIG Advisory Opinion (“AO”) No. 22-05, relating to subsidization of certain Medicare cost-sharing obligations in the context of a clinical trial involving medical devices (the “Proposed Arrangement”). This is the third AO in a recent series of AOs (see AO 21-17 on November 19, 2021 and AO 21-13 on October 4, 2021) focused on Medicare cost subsidies in a clinical trial setting for serious conditions that affect large portions of the population in the US. Like these other
Continue Reading OIG Advisory Opinion Alert: Yet Another Favorable Decision for Medical Device Manufacturers

The digital health sector has seen tremendous growth and innovation over the past few years. This momentum introduces new complexities within the legal and regulatory landscape that is trying to keep pace. In the attached article, we highlight some of the key legal considerations that the digital health industry can expect in the coming year from the perspective of: (1) telehealth related laws and regulations, (2) FDA, (3) privacy and cybersecurity, (4) fraud and abuse, and (5) antitrust issues.
Continue Reading Top 5 Legal Issues in Digital Health to Watch for in 2022

On December 22, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published draft guidance documents for manufacturers of devices that were issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) or were subject to relaxed enforcement policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 emergency will not last forever, the FDA’s recent draft guidances propose a 180-day transition path back to “normal operations,” i.e., compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and regulatory requirements. The transition periods, which would begin (in most cases) 180 days after the end of the public health emergency (PHE), would allow manufacturers, healthcare facilities, and other
Continue Reading FDA Releases Guidances on Transition Plan for Devices Distributed Under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Enforcement Policies During COVID-19

On December 22, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance for sponsors, investigators, and other interested parties on using digital health technologies (DHT) to acquire data remotely from participants in clinical investigations. DHTs (such as wearables and sensors) are playing a growing role in clinical research, accelerated by the need for decentralized clinical trials and remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though largely directed to study sponsors using DHTs, the guidance raises issues that developers and manufacturers of these technologies will want to be mindful of given the ways in which their products might be
Continue Reading FDA Releases Guidance for Digital Health Tech Used in Clinical Investigations

On Wednesday, May 7, 2021, the United States officially endorsed waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. While the United States has taken the opposite position in recent months, the administration asserts that its departure is guided, at least in part, by the goal “to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”[1] That goal, however, is unlikely to be affected by such a waiver in the short term due to uncertainty in World Trade Organization (“WTO”) politics, ongoing shortages on raw materials and equipment, and lag-time in retrofitting potential manufacturers.
Continue Reading Waiver Of Intellectual Property Protections For COVID-19 Vaccine Unlikely To Have Meaningful Impact In Short Term

On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a much-anticipated report, “Resiliency Roadmap for FDA Inspectional Oversight,” which provides a roadmap for the agency’s post-pandemic plans to return to a consistent state of inspection operations.  For the near term, FDA reports that it will continue to prioritize critical inspections of both domestic and foreign facilities, including preapproval inspections for priority products and inspections in reaction to recalls or other safety issues.  For the long term, the agency likely will employ the remote monitoring strategies it has implemented during the pandemic and expand its remote
Continue Reading FDA Proposes Risk-Based and Remote Inspection Strategies in New Report

On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a long-awaited final guidance document explaining its policy for conducting remote “evaluations” during COVID-19.  According to the guidance, FDA will request and conduct voluntary remote evaluations at (1) facilities where drugs and biologics are manufactured, processed, packed, or held; (2) facilities covered under the bioresearch monitoring (BIMO) program; and (3) outsourcing facilities registered under section 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).  The evaluations do not replace in-person inspections, and FDA Form 483s will not be issued as a result of the inspection, but
Continue Reading Breaking Down FDA’s New Remote Monitoring Strategy

Utah recently signed into law SB 227, creating the Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA). The law, which is anticipated to go into effect in May 2021, is aimed at protecting genetic data collected from direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies. Companies distributing DTC tests should evaluate their current data privacy policies and practices against the obligations the new Utah law imposes on data use and protection, including user consent, data security, and access and deletion rights, to ensure they are in a position to comply with the new law.
Continue Reading New State Genetic Privacy Law Directed at Consumer Genetic Tests

On Friday, March 26, 2021, FDA published a Federal Register notice,  “Fee rates under the Over-The-Counter Monograph Drug User Fee Program for Fiscal Year 2021,” announcing 2021 fee rates under its over-the-counter (OTC) monograph drug user program.  This is the first year that FDA has collected user fees from OTC drug manufacturers and submitters of OTC monograph order requests under its new authority under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  With limited exceptions, all manufacturers of OTC drugs must pay a facility fee, which exceeds $20,000, by May 10, 2021 (45 days after publication of
Continue Reading FDA Announces Facility Fees for OTC Drug Manufacturers

Many digital health app developers offering health and wellness solutions directly to consumers may find themselves in a space unregulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). While potentially outside the scope of HIPAA, developers in this space are reminded of the risks stemming from other federal and state privacy and security laws, including unfair or deceptive abuse acts and practices (UDAAP) laws. A recent Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settlement sheds light on the importance of accurately describing how information is collected, used, and shared.
Continue Reading Recent FTC Settlement Serves as Reminder For Digital Health Developers

At the beginning of February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) appointed Professor Kevin Fu as the first ever Acting Director of Medical Device Cybersecurity. Fu’s role also includes a one-year appointment with the Digital Health Center of Excellence (DHCoE), a division launched in September 2020 within CDRH.  Many see this new appointment as an indication that the Agency will make cybersecurity a priority in 2021.
Continue Reading FDA Appointment Signals Increased Attention on Medical Device Cybersecurity

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published an Action Plan for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software on January 12, 2021 that provides near-term actions to develop a regulatory framework for AI and ML-based medical devices.  The quick takeaway is that FDA will publish a draft guidance on change control plans, a key concept from its April 2019 discussion paper on AI/ML-based software devices (previously reported here). FDA also will hold a public workshop on algorithm transparency and engage its partners and stakeholders on other key initiatives, such as evaluating bias in algorithms. While the Action
Continue Reading FDA’s Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence: Highlights and Insights for Developers