Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

It has been a few months since we reported on Federal Court wranglings with the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, or BPCIA, which created the nation’s abbreviated marketing pathway for biosimilar products.

After the Supreme Court issued its first ruling on the BPCIA in June 2017 (see our prior post here), it sent the dispute between Amgen and Sandoz back to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to resolve the question of whether Amgen’s claims asserted under California law, including a claim of unfair competition, were preempted under the BPCIA. Continue Reading Biosimilar Market Developments Continue Apace in 2018

Rules for clinical research are undergoing major changes in both the United States and the European Union. In the United States, the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law on December 13, 2016, creates a new paradigm for modern trial design and clinical evidence development, and the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed significant revisions to the Common Rule, which governs human subject research. In the European Union, imminent changes to the clinical trial regulation No. 536/2014 and general data protection regulation could substantially impact the administration of clinical trials in European countries. The changes will greatly affect the conduct of clinical trials by sponsors and clinical researchers all over the world.

To find out more about these changes and how to address them in your trials, join our two-part upcoming webinar, “Conducting Multi-Jurisdictional Trials: Understanding Changes in the US and EU.” The first part, on January 24 at 11 AM EST, will feature Bethany Hills, Dianne Bourque, and Benjamin Zegarelli from Mintz Levin’s FDA practice group, who will share insights on changes that will impact the design and conduct of clinical trials in the US. The second part, on February 7 at 11 AM EST, will feature Laura Liguori and Elisa Stefanini from Portolano Cavallo, who will cover the important changes to clinical trial administration in the EU and Italy.

Register now!

This is the third installment of our year-in-review series covering major developments at FDA.  While the previous two installments, which can be found here and here, pertain to FDA actions on drugs and biologics, this post will address developments related to “traditional” medical devices and diagnostics (i.e., not software devices).

The Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has had a busy year in 2017, and its activities appear to be in line with the general FDA strategy described in our prior installments: greater access to novel treatments through more consistent and efficient premarket review processes.  We have seen guidance this year establishing premarket threshold criteria to ensure that a particular review process is appropriate, as well as guidance that may help speed up premarket review.  CDRH also made significant progress developing new pilot programs as part of the Case for Quality initiative by establishing ground-breaking pilot programs and regulatory pathways for new technologies such as next generation sequencing (NGS) tests. Continue Reading FDA 2017 Year in Review: Refining Medical Device Pathways and Introducing Pilot Programs to Promote Quality

Yesterday we started off our year-end series of blog posts with the first part of a review of FDA’s actions for 2017 in the therapeutic products space.  Part 1 recapped Commissioner Gottlieb’s initiative to tackle drug competition issues, with the end goal of affecting drug prices, as well as current figures related to this year’s new drug and biologic approvals.  A large proportion of those new products took advantage of the Breakthrough Therapy program and other expedited development/review pathways.  Today we’ll begin where we left off and consider how the newest expedited review pathway, the RMAT Designation program, is doing one year after its creation by Congress. Continue Reading FDA 2017 Year in Review: Therapeutic Products, Part 2

As is the tradition here at Health Law & Policy Matters, towards the end of the year we take stock of what transpired in our respective industries and highlight important legal, regulatory, and business developments.  For those of us who monitor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) and counsel FDA-regulated entities, it has certainly been a whirlwind of a year.

2017 began with no clear picture of who would be assuming leadership of the Agency, but also with a brand-new piece of critically important (and bipartisan!) legislation – the 21st Century Cures Act (see our prior posts here) – which imposed new obligations and authorities on FDA that needed to be implemented, operationalized, and fully funded.  In early May, Dr. Scott Gottlieb was sworn in as the 23rd Commissioner of FDA and he moved quickly to shift policy priorities in almost every area that the Agency regulates, a goal that in some ways was made more efficient due to the concurrent timing of modernization mandates imposed by the Cures Act.  This year’s must-pass User Fee Act, the FDA Reauthorization Act or “FDARA” (see our prior posts here) engendered some hand-wringing and political drama over the summer, but was ultimately passed by Congress in August and signed into law.  FDARA includes some important policy and programmatic changes for new prescription drugs/biologics, generic drugs, and biosimilars, but it did not contain major wholesale reforms to the Agency’s authorities due to the very recent passage of the Cures Act.

This is the first in a series of three installments that will review the actions FDA took in 2017, reflect on what they may mean for regulated industry, and provide a few predictions for 2018.  This first installment, which will be broken up into two posts, focuses on therapeutic products; that is, drugs, biologics, human cells and tissue products, and gene therapies.  Our subsequent posts will focus on medical devices and diagnostics, including whole-genome sequencing tests, and digital health and other software-related developments, respectively. Continue Reading FDA 2017 Year In Review: Therapeutic Products Energized by Cures Act, Bold Leadership

On Monday, November 13, our colleagues in the Antitrust Section published an alert on the recent FTC workshop, “Understanding Competition in Prescription Drug Markets: Entry and Supply Chain Dynamics.” The workshop, which was held on November 8, 2017, began with two keynote addresses from FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. Both speakers focused on the beneficial effects of greater competition on prescription drug prices and signaled that the branded drug manufacturers may be discouraging generic drug manufacturers from entering the market. However, Acting Chairman Ohlhausen stated that any FTC antitrust enforcement actions in this space will be based on the specific facts of a case rather than a broad-based action against particular industry practices.

The alert goes on to summarize the content of each of the four workshop panels:

  • Panel 1: Generic Drug Competition: Understanding Demand, Price and Supply Issues
  • Panel 2: Understanding Intermediaries: Pharmacy Benefit Managers
  • Panel 3: Understanding Intermediaries: Group Purchasing Organizations
  • Panel 4: Potential Next Steps to Encourage Entry and Expand Access Through Lower Prices

Click here to read the full summary of the FTC workshop.

Given the uncertainty in reimbursement from private insurance and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, it is important early on to consider how best to land and leverage relationships with key customers and strategic partners. As a start-up company, getting a strategic deal with a name-brand company is an excellent means to validate your technology. How do you take advantage of that opportunity, but not give away too much? This final installment in our blog series will suggest some best practices for negotiating these early stage strategic relationships. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 7: Commercialization and Strategic Partners

On October 23, 2017, a company that developed software to track and trace pharmaceuticals filed a complaint against a pharmaceutical distributors trade association that currently dominates the market for such software, alleging a conspiracy to lock up long-term contracts with customers and exclude competition in violation of the Sherman Act and the Virginia Antitrust Act.  Tracelink, Inc. v. Healthcare Distribution Alliance, Case No. 1:17-cv-01197-AJT-IDD (E.D. Va. Oct. 23, 2017). Continue Reading Pharma Distributors Trade Association Sued for Conspiracy to Exclude Competition for its Track and Trace Software

In this post, I will be focusing on the intersection of off-label communications with government enforcement of health care fraud through the False Claims Act. Over the past eight years, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has been particularly aggressive in using the False Claims Act to pursue recoveries from individuals, health care providers, and drug manufacturers that participate in federal health benefit programs. In fact, from 2009 to 2016, DOJ collected $19.3 billion from health care False Claims Act settlements and judgments, with $2.5 billion recovered in fiscal year 2016, alone. (More DOJ false claims statistics can be found here.) DOJ’s enforcement efforts are not solely targeted against garden variety billing fraud, but also involve claims arising from alleged violations of health care regulatory requirements. Among other things, the DOJ has been targeting claims for reimbursement for off-label uses of regulated products. DOJ’s aggressive policy of holding manufacturers accountable for off-label claims under the False Claims Act is entirely consistent with FDA’s stance on off-label communications as described in the January memo. However, recent court interpretations of off-label communications as protected First Amendment speech, as well as interpretations of the causality component of False Claims Act claims, have apparently caused DOJ to reconsider its strategy with respect to such cases. Continue Reading The Past, Present, and Future of Government Regulation of Off-Label Communications – Part 5

Consumers are increasingly turning to health apps for a variety of medical and wellness-related purposes. This has in turn caused greater amounts of data—including highly sensitive information—to flow through these apps. These data troves can trigger significant compliance responsibilities for the app developer, along with significant legal and contractual risk. This latest installment in our health app series will introduce some of these considerations, including approaches that developers can take to minimize their risk. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 6: HIPAA and Other Privacy and Security Considerations