Life Sciences Companies and Free %$&*@# Speech

Irish and NI life sciences companies operating in the US likely are familiar with the concept of “off-label” promotion–providing information about drug/device uses that have not been cleared by the FDA (even where the FDA has approved of certain other uses for such drug/device)–and the FDA’s restrictions on the same. In a recent case (Amarin Pharma, Inc. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, August 5, 2015), the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the FDA cannot prosecute companies and their representatives under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for truthful, non-misleading discussion, even if about off-label uses for a drug/device. Further, the court enjoined FDA in the case from considering the off-label communications to be evidence of misbranding. The decision makes clear that false or misleading statements are not protected speech. This decision is binding only within the jurisdiction of the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals: Federal courts in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.  However, the decision is clearly a win for industry to communicate proactively truthful and non-misleading information about clinical trial results. My colleagues Alan Minsk and Bill Kitchens have written an excellent client alert on this case and its impact, available here. Despite the questionable use of a song title from the band Queen, the update is well worth the time for any Irish or NI life sciences company operating in, or looking to expand to, the U.S.

US FDA Updates for Irish and Northern Irish Companies

AGG produces a monthly update of legal and regulatory issues that affect the FDA-regulated community, including regular updates on legislative initiatives from our Washington, DC office. The June 2015 update is located here. Two items should be of particular interest to Irish and Northern Irish companies whose products fall under US FDA regulation: Continue reading