In late April this year, the Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) announced that it would make changes to its existing body of healthcare compliance program guidance (CPGs) as part of its current Modernization Initiative.[1] These CPGs were directed at various segments of the health care industry and provided specific guidance on risks posed by industry practices. To kick off the initiative, OIG indicated that it would first issue a new general compliance program guidance (GCPG) by year end applicable to individuals and entities in all segments of the health care industry that would address overarching compliance elements regarding federal fraud and abuse laws, compliance program basics, compliance program effectiveness and general process and procedures. Thereafter, OIG said it planned to update existing industry-specific compliance program guidance (ICPG), which would include tailoring each to address fraud and abuse risk areas specific to a particular industry and describing the compliance measures that industry could take to reduce these risks[2].Continue Reading OIG General Compliance Program Guidance November 2023

On June 13, the Biden Administration released its Spring 2023 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which announced its plan to propose a rule that would ban the inclusion of formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals in hair smoothing or hair straightening products that are marketed in the United States. According to the announcement, the proposed rule would be promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in April 2024. The announcement is notable because it represents the first time that an administration has expressed its intent to ban the inclusion of formaldehyde in hair products, but it is not the first time that the government has explored the negative effects of formaldehyde in hair products.Continue Reading Hair Products with Formaldehyde Are Going Out of Style: Is Your Organization Ready for the Change?

Connecticut is the latest state to join the efforts of jurisdictions such as Oregon, Nevada, Washington D.C., and the City of Chicago, Illinois, in further regulating the activities of pharmaceutical representatives. In June, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law “An Act Protecting Patients and Prohibiting Unnecessary Health Care Costs” (the “Act”), which imposes new registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements on pharmaceutical representatives in the State of Connecticut. The Act builds on Governor Lamont’s policy initiatives, which aim to improve the delivery of care and reduce healthcare costs for Connecticut residents and includes the initiative to regulate pharmaceutical marketing practices. The Act sets forth certain requirements for pharmaceutical manufacturers and “pharmaceutical representative(s)” which remain subject to further clarification based on any forthcoming guidance and regulations from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (“CT DCP”).Continue Reading Connecticut Follows in the Footsteps of Other Jurisdictions Requiring Registration of Pharmaceutical Representatives

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or “the Agency”) issued a highly anticipated proposed rule outlining the regulatory framework and implementation plan for Laboratory Developed Tests (“LDTs”).[1] The history of LDT regulatory status is long and meandering—and summarized below—but in short, FDA has for a long time exercised enforcement discretion over LDTs.Continue Reading FDA’s Proposed Rule on LDT Regulation and the Debate over Agency Deference

On September 19, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or “the Agency”) published a draft guidance, Regulatory Considerations for Prescription Drug Use-Related Software (the “Guidance”) which adds a piece to the ever-expanding puzzle that is FDA’s regulatory scheme for digital health products. The Guidance clarifies how FDA plans to apply its drug labeling regulations to software products that “supplement, explain, or otherwise textually relate to” the use of a prescription drug. As most of FDA’s recent regulatory activity with respect to medical software regulation has been in the device space, this Guidance represents a concerted focus by the Agency to unify its approach to digital health across all regulated categories (e.g., drugs, biologics, and devices).Continue Reading FDA Clarifies Labeling Expectations for Prescription Drug Use-Related Software

On August 4, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (“OPDP”) issued a Warning Letter to AstraZeneca which stated that the company made misleading claims in a promotional sales aid about the effectiveness of BREZTRI AEROSPHERE™ (“Breztri”). Given that it has been almost a year and half since OPDP issued a Warning Letter (the last Warning Letter was issued in February 2022), the takeaways here are significant for industry and provide insight into how FDA will examine efficacy claims that are so-called “consistent with label” and require compliance with FDA’s June 2018 guidance (the “CFL Guidance”).[1],[2] Going forward, we expect the agency’s focus to remain on product communications to the public—to either a general consumer or professional audience—and whether those communications include essential contextual information to avoid the potential that such claims could be viewed as misleading.Continue Reading Context is Key: FDA Sends a Strong Message About Efficacy Claims

On August 11, 2023, the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an untitled letter to Exeltis USA Inc. (Exeltis) regarding a promotional social media sponsored post for SLYND® (drospirenone) oral progestin tablets, indicated for use by females of reproductive potential to prevent pregnancy (Slynd).[1] The post appeared on Facebook,[2] and, in addition to being false and misleading, also was not submitted to OPDP at the time of publication as required by FDA regulations. This is only the second untitled letter from OPDP of the year, both of which have focused on false and misleading promotional messaging.Continue Reading FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion Issues Second Untitled Letter of the Year to Exeltis for Misleading Statements Relating to SLYND®

On July 13, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved the first daily contraceptive for use without a prescription.[i] Opill® (norgestrel) tablet, .075 mg has been approved to prevent pregnancy in individuals of all ages and can be available for consumer purchase at pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores, and online.Continue Reading FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Daily Oral Contraceptive

On June 21, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a warning letter to Zyto Technologies, Inc. (“Zyto”), citing Zyto’s promotion of its Hand Cradle Galvanic Skin Response (“GSR”) device and associated software for uses outside the scope of the device’s 510(k) clearance.[1] This warning letter is one of only a handful issued this year to medical-device manufacturers, and comes shortly after FDA issued a warning letter to iRhythm Technologies, which we wrote about, for touting uses for a remote monitoring device which were, in FDA’s opinion, outside the scope of the product’s 510(k) clearance.[2] These enforcement actions indicate that FDA is keeping a close eye on the promotion of software-enabled medical devices, especially when that promotion suggests a function that has not been approved and/or cleared by FDA for the device.Continue Reading FDA Maintains Focus on “Intended Use” for Software-Enabled Medical Devices