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).
On December 22, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published draft guidance documents for manufacturers of devices that were issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) or were subject to relaxed enforcement policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 emergency will not last forever, the FDA’s recent draft guidances propose a 180-day transition path back to “normal operations,” i.e., compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and regulatory requirements. The transition periods, which would begin (in most cases) 180 days after the end of the public health emergency (PHE), would allow manufacturers, healthcare facilities, and other stakeholders to avoid supply disruptions and product shortages. Following the transition period, manufacturers who want to continue selling covered devices would be expected to comply with all the usual regulatory requirements. Manufacturers who do not wish to continue distribution post-PHE could keep business as usual through the end of the 180-day transition period. Comments on the draft guidance are due on March 23, 2022. The guidance for EUA devices can be found here, and for devices marketed under COVID-19 enforcement policies, here.
Continue Reading FDA Releases Guidances on Transition Plan for Devices Distributed Under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Enforcement Policies During COVID-19
The ABA Washington Health Law Summit is the premier legal conference focusing on health law policy and, as a result, offers insight into current and future major policy issues. But, as always at this conference, there are the issues selected by the conference chairs and formally on the agenda – and then there are issues experienced practitioners can identify by reading between the lines. Both are addressed below.
Continue Reading Health Law Policy Heading Into 2022 At The ABA Health Law Summit
In light of the widely reported shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working around the clock to authorize medical supplies for the US healthcare system, including relaxing its rules for importing and distributing PPE and ventilators and their accessories (e.g., vent splitters for multiple patient ventilation). FDA’s policies on permitting uncleared medical devices shift daily toward greater relaxation of regulatory hurdles for suppliers and manufacturers. The most recent policies on PPE importation and use in healthcare settings create more options for healthcare providers and patients in need of ventilatory support and help alleviate bottlenecks of necessary medical supplies in the supply chain.
Continue Reading Personal Protective Equipment & Ventilators: How FDA Is Increasing Supply for the US Healthcare System
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for commercially distributed COVID-19 diagnostic tests at the end of last week. The first authorization was issued to Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., for its cobas SARS-CoV-2 Test, and the second issued the following day to Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., for its TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit. Both tests are for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). FDA granted the authorizations within 24 hours of receiving the requests.
Continue Reading FDA Grants COVID-19 Diagnostic Emergency Use Authorizations, And Other Recent FDA Actions to Address COVID-19
The FDA actions that dominated 2019 demonstrated a shifting regulatory landscape for certain product types, such as e-cigarettes, foods and supplements containing cannabidiol (CBD), and digital health / machine learning enabled medical devices. FDA continued to take action to lower drug prices by focusing on approvals of competitive biosimilars and generic drugs, and FDA enforcement actions signaled the Agency’s ongoing interest in ensuring GMP compliance overseas.
Continue Reading FDA Year in Review: A Shifting Regulatory Landscape
*This article was originally posted in Law360 on November 4, 2019
With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, clinical decision support, or CDS, software presents a novel opportunity to analyze immensely large amounts of data for patterns or other information that may be relevant to a particular patient’s diagnosis or health care options.
Continue Reading Adapting To FDA’s Proposal For Diagnosis Support Software
Where does my prescription come from? Has it been altered or diluted? Can I trust the label? With millions of prescriptions filled each year, quality control and security across the pharmaceutical supply chain seems like a herculean task. In an attempt to slay this proverbial hydra, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a new pilot program – the DSCSA Blockchain Interoperability Pilot (the “Blockchain Pilot”) – which aims to use blockchain to create a secure electronic, interoperable system that tracks and traces certain prescription drugs as they are distributed in the United States.
Continue Reading What’s in the Bottle? FDA Announces New Blockchain Pilot Program for Tracking Drug Distribution
Originally posted on the Sheppard Mullin FDA Blog on June 25, 2019.
In April of this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a discussion paper, Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) – Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), which proposed a novel regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI)-based medical devices. The public docket closed on June 3, 2019, and FDA received over one hundred comments from manufacturers, industry associations, and other interested parties. The comments vary in support of FDA’s framework and largely urge FDA to align with external stakeholders that are already developing industry standards and clarify the agency’s expectations under the proposed framework.
Continue Reading Medical Devices – Artificial Intelligence and Reactions to FDA’s Proposed Oversight
In an April 4, 2019 Press Release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its issuance of a Warning Letter to Inova Genomics Laboratory (Inova) in Virginia for marketing genetic tests for predicting medication response and patient receptivity to drugs (among other things). FDA identified three genetic tests, including one called “MediMap Plus,” which was designed to provide insight into how a patient would respond to drugs used for anesthesia, cancers, infections, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, and diabetes. FDA deemed the tests to be adulterated and misbranded because Inova had not sought premarket clearance.
Continue Reading FDA Issues Warning Letter to Lab Marketing Three Laboratory-Developed Tests