The Sheppard Mullin Life Sciences Team decided to take a different approach to our year-end review. We surveyed and considered issues most important to our clients, asking the experts across the various specialties in our Life Sciences Practice the following question: What do life sciences companies need to keep top of mind in 2023?

Continue Reading 2023 Top-of-Mind Issues for Life Sciences Companies

On December 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance, titled “Circumstances that Constitute Delaying, Denying, Limiting, or Refusing a Drug or Device Inspection” (the “Inspection Draft Guidance”), which clarifies the types of behaviors that FDA considers to be inappropriately delaying, denying, limiting, or refusing access to an inspection, each of which constitutes adulteration of a drug or device under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).[1] The Inspection Draft Guidance clarifies certain behaviors described in FDA’s previous guidance on the subject (the “2014 Guidance”) and, most significantly, expands the previous guidance to apply to medical device manufacturers.

Continue Reading FDA Expands Inspection Guidance to Apply to Device Manufacturers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the comment period for its proposed new “healthy” regulations for food packaging. The new deadline for comments is February 16, 2023. The 50-day extension follows requests from stakeholders to allow additional time for interested persons to submit comments to the proposed regulations. 

Continue Reading Comment Period for “Healthy” Regulations Extended; But Consumer Class Actions Targeting “Health Halos” May Continue

As we take a breather during the holiday whirlwind, we wanted to flag for readers a recent development in advertising and promotion regulation that FDA quietly released nearly a month ago. In a Memorandum issued on October 27 (the “Memorandum”), the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or the “Agency”) indicated that it will now permit certain COVID-19 drugs that have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) to make claims of safety and efficacy in print, advertising, and promotional materials, pursuant to certain limitations.

Continue Reading FDA Lightens Promotional Restrictions for Certain COVID-19 Drugs with Emergency Use Authorization

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are challenging the breadth of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) in federal court, arguing that the government is harming the very vulnerable patients it aims to serve by prohibiting cost-sharing subsidies for life-saving oncology drugs. In October, we discussed the Office of Inspector General’s (“OIG”) Advisory Opinion No. 22-19 (the “Advisory Opinion”), which declared that a charitable organization funded by manufacturers would violate the AKS if it offered certain cost-sharing subsidies under Medicare Part D (“Part D”), even if the organization was independently run and patients had equal access to discounts for 90% of drugs on the market. On November 9, 2022, the Pharmaceutical Coalition for Patient Access (“PCPA”), presumably the organization behind the Advisory Opinion, filed a lawsuit against OIG, seeking declaratory judgment that its cost-sharing program is legal under the AKS and that the Advisory Opinion violates the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and the First Amendment.[1]

Continue Reading Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Ask EDVa to Allow Cost-Sharing Under the AKS

FDA issued a proposed rule on September 28, 2022, to update the definition of “healthy” by specifying new criteria by which the term can be used in food labeling. As a result of the proposed changes, FDA expects more food in the marketplace will be able to make use of the “healthy” claim.

Continue Reading FDA Proposes Updated Rule for “Healthy” Foods

Effective January 1, 2023, the recently enacted California Assembly Bill 1278,[1] requires a physician and surgeon (defined as a physician and surgeon licensed pursuant to the Medical Practice Act or an osteopathic physician and surgeon licensed by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California under the Osteopathic Act, but not a physician or surgeon working in a hospital emergency room) to provide a written or electronic notice of the Open Payments database to a patient at the initial office visit. The written or electronic notice shall contain the following text:

Continue Reading California Passes First State Law Requiring Physicians to Disclose Open Payments Database to Patients

On October 5, 2022, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) posted Advisory Opinion No. 22-19 (the “Opinion”), which limits the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer cost-sharing subsidies to Medicare Part D (“Part D”) beneficiaries via 501(c)(3) charities without running afoul of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (the “AKS”).

Continue Reading OIG Limits Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Ability to Offer Drug Cost-Sharing Subsidies

The United States’ recent False Claims Act (“FCA”) prosecution in United States v. Prometheus Group, et al., is a reminder that the government will use the FCA to target medical device manufacturers for off-label use of medical devices, even where healthcare providers have decided the use is safe and effective. In Prometheus Group, the government alleges that the defendant medical device manufacturer trained providers to re-use disposable rectal probes against U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) recommendations, causing the providers to submit false claims for payment to Medicare for the services mis-using the probes. The complaint alleges that Prometheus put vulnerable Medicare patients at risk to gain a marketing advantage by reducing overhead costs associated with its systems. The message to medical device manufacturers is clear: even without submitting claims to the government themselves, manufacturers can face FCA liability for suggesting providers use their devices in any way the FDA has not approved (and in this case, warned against).

Continue Reading The Government Seeks FCA Liability for Off-Label Use of Medical Devices