As computing power continues to become cheaper and more powerful, medical devices are increasingly capable of handling larger and larger sets of data. This provides the ability to log ever expanding amounts of information about medical device use and patient health. Whereas once the data that could be obtained from a therapeutic or diagnostic device would be limited to time and error codes, medical devices now have the potential to store personal patient health information. Interoperability between medical devices and electronic health record systems only increases the potential for medical devices to store personal information.
Continue Reading HIPAA/HITECH Compliance Strategies for Medical Device Manufacturers

On August 5, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a final rule on the labeling of foods as “gluten free.”[1] Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley, and their crossbred hybrids. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. In order for a food to be labeled “Gluten Free” under the rule, the food may not contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten.[2] The rule applies to the claims “free of gluten” and “without gluten” as well.[3]
Continue Reading Will an FDA Rule Make People Sick? – FDA Establishes a Rule on the Labeling of “Gluten Free” Foods that Sets a Limit Above What Some Groups Claim Causes Adverse Reactions

On June 24, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. v. Bartlett, 570 U.S. ____ (2013), finding that design-defect claims against generic drug companies are pre-empted where federal law prohibits an action required by state law. The Supreme Court had previously held in Pliva v. Mensing, 564 U.S. ____ (2011) that failure to warn claims against generic drug manufacturers are pre-empted by the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act since generic drug makers must copy innovator drug labeling precisely in order to obtain approval of their products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The Court in Mutual rejected the argument of lower courts that the generic manufacturer could comply with both federal and state law by choosing not to make and distribute the product at all.
Continue Reading A Short-Lived Victory for Generic Drug Manufacturers?

I am often called upon to address the nature of how regulatory controls may apply to the organization of healthcare companies in their ability to create, deliver, and capture value (their ‘business models’). While no summation could adequately capture all of the complexity inherent in this question, it would seem appropriate to briefly comment on some of the general recent trends I have seen, and how they may be shaped by various regulatory authorities.
Continue Reading Thoughts on Regulatory Constraints of Business Models

The Ninth Circuit has reopened a door for off-label marketing prosecutions, and it is important to review your compliance and risk management programs in light of this recent decision. Last December, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries exhaled a sigh of relief in response to the influential Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Caronia, holding that truthful off-label marketing is a form of protected First Amendment speech that cannot form the basis for a criminal prosecution under 21 U.S.C. §333 of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). The Caronia decision followed the Supreme Court’s decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., 131 S. Ct. 2653 (June 23, 2011), which held that a Vermont statute prohibiting pharmaceutical companies from engaging in truthful marketing activities offended the First Amendment. The question after Sorell and Caronia became, can the government still prosecute off-label marketing? On March 4, 2013 the Ninth Circuit said yes, albeit in an unpublished opinion.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Off-Label Marketing Decision Suggests More Prosecutions Will Be Coming

The following blog article is drawn from the upcoming book Cloud Computing Deskbook, which is set to be released by Thomson Reuters West next summer. Cloud Computing Deskbook covers the legal and regulatory aspects of cloud computing, including those related to regulation by U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Please contact the author with any questions related to FDA regulation of cloud computing and software in general.

Cloud computing involves the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. In a cloud computing solution, shared resources, software, and information are provided much like a utility, over a network to computers and other devices. Cloud computing has been embraced by the medical industry, and is used as a vital technology in electronic medical record systems and telemedicine solutions, among other products.

Continue Reading The Impact of Cloud Computing on FDA’s Regulation of Medical Products

By Peter ReichertzSeth Mailhot, and Robert Uram

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, proposes the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years. As part of the changes introduced by the law, Section 103 of FSMA, titled “Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls,” and Section 105 of FSMA, titled “Standards for Produce Safety,” each amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by adding new sections 418 (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls )and 419 (Standards for Produce Safety ). Section 418 and 419 significantly change the existing legal requirements for food manufacturing and growing. Each section also requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to conduct rulemaking to implement these provisions.

Continue Reading FDA Issues Two Proposed Rules That Will Significantly Change Regulatory Requirements For Food Safety

By Seth A. Mailhot and Peter S. Reichertz

On December 31, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two new guidance documents on the minimum threshold of acceptability for medical device premarket submissions, which are titled “Refuse to Accept Policy for 510(k)s,” and “Acceptance and Filing Reviews for Premarket Approval Applications (PMAs).” These guidance documents detail the conditions under which a Premarket Notification [510(k)], or a Premarket Approval application [PMA] will be accepted for substantive review.

Continue Reading FDA Issues Final Guidance on Filing PMAs and 510(k)s

Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ("Prop 37”), if approved by the voters on November 6, 2012, will provide that food offered for retail sale in California produced with genetic engineering (“GMO food”) is misbranded unless clearly labeled to say it is genetically engineered. Prop 37 also provides that GMO “processed food” may not on its label, store signage, advertising or promotional materials state or imply that the food is “natural” or words of similar import.

Ballot materials prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) state that Prop 37 could be interpreted to mean “processed food” is subject to the prohibition against “natural” labels, even if it is not produced with genetic engineering. In our view, this is not the correct interpretation of Prop. 37.

Continue Reading Proposition 37 Permits “Natural” Labeling for Non-GMO Processed Food

By Seth A. Mailhot

As part of Sheppard Mullin’s monthly blog on tobacco retailer issues, we are taking a look at the possible future of retailer-operated rolling machines. On March 8, 2012, the U.S. Senate adopted an amendment to the federal highway bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP–21) that included a provision impacting retail establishments that offer rolling machines for use to customers. The provision would have changed the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products” in section 5702(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to “include any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use . . . a machine capable of making cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products.”[1]

Continue Reading Congress Contemplates Action on Rolling Machines

By Robert Uram

On March 27, 2012, the comment period will close on a petition filed by the Center for Food Safety that calls for the FDA to issue new regulations requiring labeling of all foods produced using genetic engineering (GE). Docket No. FDA-2011-P-0723 (Filed October 12, 2011). Unlike many other developed countries – such as 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China – the U.S. has no laws requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Continue Reading Comment Period to Close On Petition to FDA for Mandatory Labeling of All Foods Produced Using Genetic Engineering