The FDA has published an interim final rule amending definitions related to required notifications regarding drug shortages. 21 C.F.R. 314.81(b)(3)(iii) requires an applicant who is the sole manufacturer certain approved drug products to notify FDA in writing at least 6 months prior to discontinuing manufacture of the drug product. 21 C.F.R. 314.81(b)(3)(iii) now refers to

On December 14, 2011, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report finding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) failed to properly oversee food facility inspections conducted by states because FDA had not ensured the requisite number of inspections and failed to follow-up appropriately when inspections occurred. The report was issued in response to a request from Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, following a salmonella outbreak attributed to a Georgia peanut processing plant in 2009.

FDA enters into contracts with state agencies where FDA pays the state to conduct inspections of its food facilities. FDA relied on states for a total of 59 percent of the agency’s food inspections in FY 2009, as opposed to only 42 percent in FY 2004, and spent over $8 million on such inspections.


Continue Reading Health and Human Services Inspector General Report Identifies Shortcomings in FDA Oversight of State Food Inspections

On December 13, 2011, FDA announced the availability of a draft report entitled “Quantitative Summary of the Benefits and Risks of Prescription Drugs: A Literature Review” for public comment. The literature review was conducted pursuant to section 3507(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) which required the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, to determine whether the addition of quantitative summaries of the benefits and risks of prescription drugs in standardized format (e.g., similar to the “Drug Facts” on over-the-counter-products) to the promotional labeling or print advertising of such drugs would “improve health care decision-making by clinicians and patients and consumers.”


Continue Reading FDA makes “Quantitative Summary of the Benefits and Risks of Prescription Drugs: A Literature Review” available for comment

On December 9, 2011, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice announcing that a proposal to collect information for a “Experimental Study of Comparative Direct-to-Consumer Advertising” had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). FDA is required to submit the proposal to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. FDA’s submission reveals its intent to study direct-to-consumer marketing of FDA-regulated products, with a focus on prescription drug advertising.

According to FDA, research findings on the effects of comparative versus noncomparative ads on purchase intentions indicate that comparative ads result in greater purchase intentions than noncomparative ads. Given the prevalence of comparative advertising, “FDA is embarking on the proposed research to ensure that it has adequate information to assess whether prescription drug comparative DTC ads provide truthful and nonmisleading information to consumers.”


Continue Reading FDA Proposes “Experimental Study of Comparative Direct-to-Consumer Advertising”

On November 30, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting to consider the need to amend pre-existing guidelines or adopt new ones addressing microbiological safety in cosmetics. The FDA presented the meeting as an opportunity for industry and other stakeholders to provide input on whether current guidelines sufficed to address cosmetic microbiological safety.

The FDA and industry members have long acknowledged the capacity for microorganisms to grow and reproduce in cosmetics if certain precautions are not taken. This growth can cause chemical changes to the products, which may adversely affect the consumer. In explaining the impetus behind the meeting, FDA representatives noted that current FDA guidelines on microbiological safety have not been revised in some time. These guidelines include the Cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Guidelines/Inspection Checklist (2008) and the Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), Chapter 23 “Microbiological Methods for Cosmetics” (2001). FDA representatives stated that they were in the process of revising these guidelines and also considering issuing entirely new guidelines on microbiological safety.


Continue Reading FDA Holds Public Meeting on Cosmetic Microbiological Safety Issues to Consider Need for New Guidelines

Responding to a request from Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and John Dingell (D-MI), on October 24, 2011, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report which examines how the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has addressed “economic adulteration” affecting the products it regulates and makes recommendations for strengthening regulatory and enforcement policies.

For purposes of the GAO evaluation and report, the GAO defined economic adulteration as “the fraudulent, intentional substitution or addition of a substance in a product for the purpose of increasing the apparent value of the product or reducing the cost of its production, i.e. economic gain.” The GAO study highlighted two specific cases of economic adulteration as indicators of the need for stronger policies to prevent economic adulteration of FDA regulated products. First, in 2007, vegetable protein products were found to contain melamine and cyanuric acid, industrial chemicals, in order to give the products an appearance of a higher protein content. The protein products were subsequently used in pet food and caused an unknown number of illnesses and deaths to dogs and cats. Notably, the melamine contamination case helped to inspire a number of food safety policy reforms, including the enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act on January 4, 2011, which includes mandatory HACCP-type preventive controls and establishes new safeguards to prevent intentional adulteration of food products. The second case occurred in 2008, and involved the blood thinner known as heparin, which was found to contain oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, a toxic contaminant which was later linked to multiple human illnesses and deaths.


Continue Reading GAO Report Recommends FDA Adopt Definition of Economic Adulteration and Take Steps to Combat Independently from Other Types of Adulteration

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released a guidance document for industry titled “What You Need to Know About Administrative Detention of Foods.” The guidance comes just a week after the FDA announced its first administrative detention under the expanded authority granted by Congress in the Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA will issue

On October 19, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a final rule amending its bottled water quality standard regulations by establishing an allowable level of di (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (“DEHP”). The new DEHP limit and related requirements will take effect on April 16, 2012.
Under Section 410 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”),

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has released a question and answer guide to its implementation of the fee provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The purpose of the fee provisions is to allow the FDA to recover reinspection, recall noncompliance, and importer program related costs from domestic and foreign facilities and

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) recently completed an evaluation of the legal basis for federal preemption policy statements the agency has issued under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) during the past 10 years. FDA initiated the review in response to a memorandum issued by President Obama in May 2009 which directed