November 11, 2013

Partially Hydrogenated Oils Tentatively No Longer GRAS

transfat.jpgFDA has tentatively found that partially hydrogenated oils ("PHOs"), the primary dietary source of trans fatty acids, are no longer generally regarded as safe ("GRAS"). While PHOs are used in a number of food products (e.g. margarine, shortening, and baked goods), they have been linked to significant health risks, such as coronary heart disease. FDA's tentative determination that PHOs are no longer GRAS means that PHOs would now be classified as "food additives," subject to Section 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ("FD&C Act") (21 U.S.C. 348). FDA does not allow food manufacturers to sell food additives, directly or indirectly, without prior approval for us by FDA.

The FD&C Act defines a "food additive" as "any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result, directly or indirectly, in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food...." 21 U.S.C. 321(s). Except that GRAS substances are not considered food additives. A substance is GRAS if it is generally recognized to be safe under the conditions of its proposed use "among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate its safety, as having been adequately shown through scientific procedures." In addition, if the substance had been used in food before January 1, 1958, it could be considered GRAS based on experience form its "common use" in food. However, even common use in food cannot overcome new evidence demonstrating that a consensus no longer exists that the substance is safe.

While some GRAS substances are listed in the regulations, there is no comprehensive list of GRAS substances. With the passage of the Food Additives Amendment to the FD&C Act in 1958, FDA established a list of GRAS substances. And in 1972, FDA instituted a notice-and-rulemaking procedure for affirming certain substances as GRAS. However, in 1997, FDA instituted a voluntary notification program for GRAS substances, which does not require notice-and-comment rulemaking. Thus, in many cases, food manufacturers and users have been responsible for determining whether substances are GRAS in light of the views of experts. For example, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil were considered GRAS based on common use prior to 1958, but are not listed as GRAS in any FDA regulation.

Continue reading "Partially Hydrogenated Oils Tentatively No Longer GRAS" »

November 8, 2013

Korea-Maryland USA Bio Expo Held in Rockville, Maryland Last Week

Korea-MD, USA Bio Expo Opening Ceremonies.JPGOn November 7 and 8, 2013, FLH attorneys Brian J. Malkin, Charlie J. Raubicheck, and Scot B. Pittman attended and participated as sponsors of the 3rd Annual Korea-Maryland, USA Bio Expo. The Expo hosted leading Korean pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies at the Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland. The event provided networking opportunities and seminars from industry professionals with the goal to encourage collaboration of Korean biotechnology businesses utilizing the resources in the Washington, D.C. area.

The opening ceremonies featured presentations by a variety of local and Korean representatives committed to helping Korean business set up operations in the United States, particularly Maryland, and specifically Montgomery County. The speakers included:

  1. Ambassador for Green Growth & Environment, Kyungryul An

  2. Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Consul-General Do-ho Kang

  3. Maryland Secretary of State, John P. McDonough

  4. BioMaryland Center Executive, Director Judy Britz

  5. Montgomery County Executive, Isiah Leggett

  6. Montgomery County Department of Economic Development Director, Steve Silverman

  7. Hanbat National University Graduate School, Dean Byung Wook Ahn

  8. George Washington University, Department Chair of East Asian Languages and Literatures Young-Key Kim-Renaud.

The Maryland representatives highlighted some of the advantages for doing business in Maryland. For example, Maryland offers income tax credits equal to 50% of an eligible investment for investors in Qualified Maryland Biotechnology Companies ("QMBCs"). This tax credit program offers incentives for investment in seed and early stage, biotech companies, up to $250,000. To qualify, companies are required to: be less than 15 years old; have their headquarters and base of operations in Maryland; employ fewer than 50 people, and have a valid certification from the Department of Business and Economic Development ("DBED"). Investors are required to submit applications prior to making an investment. DBED reviews the applications and issues initial credit certifications within 30 calendar days.( ). Chevy Chase, Maryland also is home to a branch of NEA, one of the country's largest venture capital funds, with the potential to help support Maryland businesses such as those in the biotechnology field.

Continue reading "Korea-Maryland USA Bio Expo Held in Rockville, Maryland Last Week" »

November 7, 2013

GPhA's Fall Technical Conference Delivers Messages of GDUFA, Quality, and More - Day 2

gpha-headerLogo.gifDay 2 of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association ("GPhA's") annual Fall Technical Conference focused on RTR issues, FDA's efforts to update the inactive ingredient database, stability, Uhl's OGD update, and closing remarks.Some of the key take aways for RTRs is that once year three of GDUFA kicks in, FDA will take a closer look at RTR issues such as DMFs, which need to be accepted for referencing rather than just filed prior to the ANDA. In the past, many sponsors had filed their ANDAs close in time--and sometime simultaneously--with the ANDA to prevent competitors and referenced drug holders alike from suspecting their ANDA filing in advance of a patent challenge notice. Now FDA is recommending that DMFs be filed at least six months in advance to permit a completeness assessment for filing. FDA's recommendation is based on an observation that it typically takes between two to five months for DMF holders to address submission deficiencies.

Johnny Young, M.A.L.A., Regulatory Health Project Manager, OGD, explained that OGD has been viewing excipients more critically than before, e.g., ophthalmic drugs need to be Q/Q even though the current regulations provide certain exceptions, based on what has been learned. Young also noted that there are new microbiology and stability requirements for ANDA that may also lead to RTRs, and he recommended that industry take a careful look at the new RTR guidance as well as ANDA checklist, which is regularly updated. Representing industry's viewpoint, Robert Pollock, M.S., R.Ph., Senior Advisor and Member of the Board, Lachman Consultant Services, Inc. said that the proposed five-day turn around to remedy a RTR prior to its issuance (from the current 10-day scheme) may prove to be difficult for industry to meet. Pollock also thought that it would be important for ANDA applicants to submit higher-quality ANDAs at the onset rather than hoping to fix them later, even when there is a rush to be the first patent challenger for 180-day exclusivity, because a RTR could remove that incentive.

During a question-and-answer period, FDA explained that its new RTR guidance put into writing many of the policies it had been following, so not that much in it was particularly new. Ian Margand, R.Ph., Regulatory Support Management, OGD, explained that for GDUFA to work, ANDA applicants have to take a greater responsibility for their DMF holders. In particular, ANDA applicants need to provide time for their DMF holders to provide an adequate DMF for their ANDA to be filed. Regarding labeling carve-outs to attempt to avoid certain Orange Book-listed patents with method-of-use claims or unexpired exclusivity, Young said that like other RTR issues, FDA will provide ANDA applicants with five days to fix prior to receiving an RTR, if the carve out is not in line with the Agency's expectations of appropriate carve outs.

Continue reading "GPhA's Fall Technical Conference Delivers Messages of GDUFA, Quality, and More - Day 2" »

November 6, 2013

GPhA's Fall Technical Conference Delivers Messages of GDUFA, Quality, and More - Day 1

gpha-headerLogo.gifOn October 29-30, 2013, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association ("GPhA") held its annual Fall Technical Conference that featured a Keynote by Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research ("CDER"), Janet Woodcock, M.D., the Acting Office of Generic Drugs ("OGD") Kathleen "Cook" Uhl, M.D., and a variety of other FDA and industry speakers. While the Conference included typical fare such as bioequivalence issues, a predominant topic was FDA's implementation of the Generic Drug User Fee Act ("GDUFA").

Starting with Woodock's Keynote, her message was OGD's reorganization, including the development of the Office of Product Quality ("OPQ") to help drive home the message that abbreviated new drug applications ("ANDAs") need to be high quality for OGD to meet its GDUFA goals. Some of the changes Woodcock spoke about included reviewing generics by dosage form by specialized groups and centralizing elements of the generics program in 2015: microbiology, project management, and a policy office with policy functions for chemistry, manufacturing, and controls, quality issues, and inspections. Woodcock described OGD as having assembled "SWAT teams" to handle specific types of ANDA applications in the backlog, noting that next year will be critical to control the backlog before GDUFA measures kick in 2015.

Next a barrage of quality presentations from FDA and industry followed, emphasizing the need to develop quality metrics, methods to develop internal audit programs to continuously monitor identified quality issues, and FDA's expectations for quality going forward. FDA said that Quality by Design ("QbD") needs to be second nature, focusing on metrics that are clinically relevant to patient safety and health. Some metrics suggested included: batch/lot failure rates (rejected, reworked), right the first time, demonstration of active pharmaceutical ingredient/excipient compatibility and stability, and standards for sampling/acceptance plans. Rather than just include passing bioequivalence studies, FDA explained that sponsors need to explain how they arrived at a bioequivalent drug product and their scale-up plans.

Continue reading "GPhA's Fall Technical Conference Delivers Messages of GDUFA, Quality, and More - Day 1" »

November 5, 2013

Korea-Maryland, USA Bio Expo 2013 in Rockville, Maryland Later this Week

korea-MD Bio Expo.jpgOn November 6-9, 2013, the 3rd Annual Korea-Maryland, USA Bio Expo will showcase the best opportunity meet with Korea's leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. The main show dates are November 7th and 8th at the Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland. Some of the major events associated with this Expo include:

  • Korea's regional officials from the Gangwondo, Jellonamdo, Kyeongsangnamdo, and Chungcheonbukdo Provinces will be in attendance.
  • Evening Reception with presentations from Korean companies and their technology development on November 7th from 6:00pm-8:30pm.
  • Seminars from industry professionals on business development and regulatory affairs including FLH's key FDA/Regulatory Partners Charles J. Raubicheck and Brian J. Malkin. Topics that will be covered on the main show dates include: (1) Investigational New Drug (IND) Process - Nonclinical, (2) Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) Process, (3) Clinical Study Design Phase I, Phase II, Phase IIA, Phase III - Drugs, (4) Pharmacometrics and Clinical Study Design, (5) Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and its Role in Regulatory Drug Quality, (6) Current Drug Shortages and Orphan Drug Disease Pharmaceutical Development, (7) Innovative Strategies for New Drug Development, and (8) the Patent Process for Drug Repurposing Development.
  • Exhibitors from U.S. and Korea presenting opportunities from both countries to build collaborations.
  • General admission to the exhibition hall is free to the general public.

Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP is proud to be a sponsor of Korea-Maryland, USA Bio Expo 2013 and looks forward to participating in this event to help make it be one of the greatest international fairs between Korea and the United States to foster mutual cooperation for the development of new pharmaceuticals, medical robotics technology, stem-cell research, medical devices, environmentally-friendly energy research, and additional innovations.

November 4, 2013

Response to Citizen Petition for Nitroglycerin Lingual Spray

lingual.jpgOn October 31, 2013, FDA responded to a Citizen Petition filed by G. Pohl-Boskamp GmbH & Company KG ("Pohl") on December 16, 2010. The petition requested that FDA require particular showings prior to approval of an abbreviated new drug application ("ANDA") for a generic version of Pohl's Nitrolingual® Pumpspray (nitroglycerin lingual spray). Nitrolingual® Pumpspray is a metered dose spray indicated for acute relief of an attack or prophylaxis of angina pectoris, i.e., chest pain, due to coronary artery disease.

In its Citizen Petition, Pohl requested that FDA require ANDA applicants to show in vivo bioequivalence studies evaluating the concentration of active ingredient (nitroglycerin or "TNG") and its two metabolites, 1,2- and 1,3-glyceryl dinitrate ("1,2-DNG" and "1,3-DNG", respectively) in plasma. FDA "effectively granted" Pohl's request in 2012 with issuance of revised Draft Bioequivalence Recommendations for Nitroglycerin Metered Spray/Sublingual products ("the 2012 Revised Recommendations"). FDA recommended that data for TNG as well as 1,2-DNG and 1,3-DNG be submitted as supporting evidence since these metabolites may contribute to the pharmacological activity of Nitrolingual® Pumpspray.

FDA also effectively granted, in the 2012 Revised Recommendations, Pohl's request for in vivo bioequivalence studies to use a confidence interval approach for TNG, the parent substance. This ruling thereby prohibited substitution for a confident interval approach only for the active metabolites, 1,2-DNG and 1,3-DNG. Pohl argued and FDA agreed that TNG can reliably and accurately be measured using analytical methods employing gas chromatography.

Continue reading "Response to Citizen Petition for Nitroglycerin Lingual Spray" »

November 1, 2013

FDA's Electronic Source Data Guidance Discussed by FLH at Q1 Productions' Clinical Data Management Innovation Conference in Alexandria, Virginia

electronicclinicaldata.jpgOn October 28-29, 2013, Q1 Productions hosted a conference on Clinical Data Management Innovation. On October 29, 2013, FLH's Brian J. Malkin and Julie Kurzrok presented an "Update on FDA's Draft Guidance for Electronic Source Data in Clinical Investigations". The two-day Conference featured a look at innovative strategies and technologies affecting forward-thinking companies involved in clinical studies and clinical data management. The Conference included topics of interest to clinical data managers ("CDMs") as well as individuals who supervise or support CDMs to better understand the evaluation and selection of new technologies to meet FDA's and other regulatory requirements for collecting and managing clinical data. The focus was on information relevant to industry executives and included discussions how to select vendors for running clinical trials and managing clinical data.

First, Colleen Cox, Senior Manager, Data Management, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, provided an overview of the function of a CDM in a pharmaceutical/biotech company and how CDMs ensure that clinical data is accurate, logical, consistent, and complete. Dan Ringenbach, Sr. Enterprise Architect, AstraZeneca, Research and Development Information, then provided an overview of existing and future technologies that may be used in clinical data management, including "the Cloud", mobile platforms, as well as ways to manage the increasing trend towards electronic clinical data information. With the goal of "seamless integration", various technologies may be used to create data dashboards that have the potential to deliver increased data quality and reliability. With the increased information, organizations such as the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium ("CDISC") have emerged to help develop standards for the acquisition, submission, and exchange of clinical research data, as was explained by Shannon Labout, CDISC Expert and Authorized Instructor. FDA wants data that conforms to CDISC standards, Labout said, which may be required in the near future.

Jason Raines, Head, Global Data Operations, Alcon Laboratories, Inc., provided a comprehensive look at how to select, negotiate, and contract electronic data capture ("EDC") vendors that are frequently utilized in clinical trials. Once an EDC provider is selected, it is important to develop an effective implementation and roll-out plan to provide a structured approach for success. Raines suggested testing an EDC vendor with a pilot before committing resources to one vendor and to develop metrics to demonstrate value from the vendor's program going forward. Hand-in-hand with selecting an EDC, Anne C. Hansen, Senior Study Data Manager, Genetech, Inc. and Roche Ltd., explained how the EDC vendors can work with contract research organizations ("CROs").

Continue reading "FDA's Electronic Source Data Guidance Discussed by FLH at Q1 Productions' Clinical Data Management Innovation Conference in Alexandria, Virginia" »

October 29, 2013

FLH Partner Brian Malkin Quoted in Inside Health Policy on FDA's Response to Prometheus's Citizen Petition

duelingsquirrels.jpgOn October 24, 2013, FLH Partner Brian J. Malkin was quoted on an Inside Health Policy article "FDA Denies Shared REMS Petition; But Guidance, Rulemaking A Possibility". Some background on this topics may be found in a previous blog here.

Building upon a recent presentation made at the FDA public meeting on Standardizing and Evaluating Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies ("REMS") held in FDA's White Oak campus on July 25-26, 2013, Mr. Malkin suggested another way that FDA could find the resources to assist in the collaboration between innovator and generic companies to develop shared REMS programs: user fees from generic drug companies to help fund the process and development of guidance and initiate a notice-and-comment rulemaking.

FDA's decision to the Prometheus Citizen Petition said FDA may consider regulation or guidance as it gains more experience with the development of shared REMS, particularly in an environment where there is only the innovator's product prior to generic entry. FDA's response, however, denied the request for rulemaking at the present moment. FDA's response suggested that FDA thought a shared REMS was possible because it has been accomplished before, despite the innovator's concerns for resource commitments and potential risks arising from antitrust law and product liability. To the extent that FDA listed examples where a shared REMS worked, however, there were few contentious issues concerning patents such as patents on the REMS itself or complexities involved in obtaining the innovator's product without circumventing or avoiding the REMS for bioequivalence testing purposes. FDA also denied Prometheus with an opportunity to directly participate in the process to determine whether FDA would waive the requirement for ANDA applicants to agree to a single, shared REMS with the innovator for a product with a REMS with elements to assure safe use. In this regard, FDA said that it would invite comments, however, from both innovator and generic companies on the process to develop a single, shared REMS. FDA reserved the right to determine by specific request or on its own whether a waiver should be granted based on its evaluation of the burdens and benefits to create a single, shared REMS.

Continue reading "FLH Partner Brian Malkin Quoted in Inside Health Policy on FDA's Response to Prometheus's Citizen Petition" »

October 28, 2013

Maximizing Clinical Outcome Assessments Conference

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Q1 ProductionisAddressing Industry Concerns Regarding FDA Regulation and Compliance While Improving Utilization of Clinical Outcome Assessments through Increased Instrument Efficiency and the Utilization of Innovative Technologies to Ensure FDA Label Inclusion

Clinical Outcome Assessments within the pharmaceutical industry provide critical data to researchers to support a variety of claims, from safety to cost-effectiveness, to regulatory bodies as well as healthcare providers and third-party payers. While outcomes information has been collected for some time, and both from a wide variety of sources and in varied formats, there has been little harmonization in the ultimate reporting and utilization of this critical information. The Q1 Maximizing Clinical Outcome Assessments Conference will provide an opportunity for executives throughout the industry for high-level education and networking, blending perspectives from academia, industry-veterans, and regulatory authorities.

This conference will take place in Alexandria, Virginia on January 13-14, 2014. For organizations addressing challenges in maximizing clinical outcome assessments, the first step is to understand regulatory hurdles faced by the industry, and the evolving expectations from FDA for reporting and communicating research findings. Additional sessions will cover a range of topics, including presentations highlighting various instruments that can be utilized to collect reported outcomes, as well as new applications and mobile technologies, modernizing the methods through which this information is gathered. Insightful commentary will also provide detail on validation methods, as well as methods for working with the range of observers and with the most appropriate tools for those populations.


  • Addressing FDAs Perspective On Utilizing Clinical Outcome Assessment
  • Focusing On Implementation Strategies That Will Affect Label Claim Submissions
  • Review Costly Compliance Concerns That Effect The Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Sharpening Techniques And Methodologies To Maximize COA Utilization
  • Validating COAs Through The Power Of Social Media
  • Optimizing The Use Of Critical COA Evidence Beyond The Label
  • Evaluating The Considerations For COAs In Children And Adolescents

Continue reading "Maximizing Clinical Outcome Assessments Conference" »

October 25, 2013

Shared REMS Editorial Published in Financier Worldwide by FLH Partner Brian J. Malkin

stepontoes.jpgFinancier Worldwide published an editorial by FLH Partner Brian J. Malkin on shared REMS in its October 2013 edition entitled, "Will the FDA provide more guidance or manage the process to share risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS)?". Prior to FDA's response to the Prometheus Citizen Petition reported in our blog here, Mr. Malkin discussed his opinion whether FDA would undertake a more proactive process to manage shared risk evaluation and mitigation strategies ("REMS"). Mr. Malkin's analysis includes an overview discussion of the issue, namely negotiating the process whereby innovator and generic companies can work together to implement a shared REMS program. In the past, such negotiations have been particularly problematic when elements of the REMS were protected by patents or the negotiating parties were involved in a Hatch-Waxman litigation scenario.

In various citizen petitions and at FDA's Public Meeting Standardizing and Evaluating Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) on July 25-26, it has been suggested that FDA take a more proactive role to bring innovator and generic companies together to form a new shared REMS. The shared REMS would provide a platform for all parties to work toward a common goal for effective patient risk management. In addition, FDA could take a more proactive role as part of its REMS standardization process to provide more open information concerning REMS assessments for the industry to better understand what REMS elements work best. Presently, FDA has provided little guidance how the parties are expected to negotiate a shared REMS when there are outstanding issues of compensation, liability, and control under the backdrop of patents or proprietary information.

FDA Lawyers Blog and FLH would like to make sure that you have a chance to read Mr. Malkin's editorial, so we are providing a copy for download here. We hope that this helps to stimulate some additional thought and discussion about the topic.

October 24, 2013

Watson's Silodosin Petition Denied by FDA

rapaflo.jpgEarlier this month, FDA denied a Citizen Petition filed by Watson Laboratories Inc. (now part of Actavis, Inc. or "Actavis") on May 10, 2013, requesting that FDA deny any abbreviated new drug applications ("ANDAs") it receives for a generic version of Rapaflo® (silodosin) Capsules unless the applicant demonstrates bioequivalence for both silodosin and its metabolite KMD-3213G. Watson requested that bioequivalence for both the drug and its metabolite be measured using a strict statistical evaluation of the standard pharmacokinetic measures of area under the plasma concentration-time curve ("AUC") and peak drug concentration ("Cmax"). Watson further requested that FDA revise its draft guidance on bioequivalence testing for silodosin capsules to require a demonstration of bioequivalence for both silodosin and KMD-3213G.

On October 8, 2008, FDA approved Watson's new drug application ("NDA") for Rapaflo®, 4 mg and 8 mg, indicated for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia ("BPH"). BPH is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate that makes urination difficult and uncomfortable. Sandoz Inc. ("Sandoz") recently filed an ANDA for generic Rapaflo®.

Silodosin is an alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonist and undergoes extensive metabolism. Its main metabolite is a glucuronide conjugate, KMD-3213G, which has been shown in vitro to be active. KMD-3213G has an extended half-life (approximately 24 hours) and reaches plasma exposure approximately four times greater than that of silodosin.

Continue reading "Watson's Silodosin Petition Denied by FDA" »

October 22, 2013

Off-Label Promotion Chapter Authored by FLH's Brian J. Malkin

doctorRx.jpgFLH Partner Brian J. Malkin's Chapter, "Free Speech and Off-Label Drug Promotion: Should Recent Cases Change Your Business Practices?" is now available as part of an Aspatore Special Report, Navigating Recent Off-Label Promotion Developments: Understanding Government Regulations and the Potential Impact of Noteworthy Cases published on September 1, 2013. FLH and FDA Lawyers Blog bring to you as a special benefit a link to Mr. Malkin's Chapter for your review and use available here.

Mr. Malkin's Chapter provides an overview of the off-label promotion issue as well as addresses some of the most recent cases that have called into question FDA's statutory scope of authority over such discussions. Broadly speaking, FDA permits unaffiliated doctors to prescribe and speak about offlabel uses of products approved by FDA for marketing but has limited the ability of a product's sponsor or individuals acting on the sponsor's behalf to do so. In some instances, violations have resulted in convictions for criminal felonies involving prison time and substantial fines, even in to the billions of dollars. A recent Second Circuit Case, United States v. Caronia, however, held that truthful, nonmisleading off-label promotion is constitutionally protectable commercial speech. FDA's decision to not appeal the decision and official position that the ruling is very narrow and business is as usual has further complicated the issue. Mr. Malkin's chapter takes a look at how FDA has proceeded since Caronia and provides "takeaways" for counsel when considering their products and marketing materials.

Continue reading "Off-Label Promotion Chapter Authored by FLH's Brian J. Malkin" »

October 21, 2013

Lorillard Substantial Equivalence Tobacco Citizen Petition Denied as to Enforcement Discretion with Some Explanation

newport.jpgOn October 17, 2013, concurring with the end to the government shutdown, FDA responded to a Citizen Petition filed by Lorillard Tobacco Company, Inc. ("Lorillard"). The Petition requested that FDA exercise enforcement discretion to allow the marketing of new tobacco products introduced after March 22, 2011 that are the subject of reports intended to demonstrate substantial equivalence and compliance with the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act ("FD&C Act") Section 906(j)(1)(A)(i) ("SE Report"). Lorillard specifically asked that FDA exercise enforcement for two of its tobacco products that were the source of SE Reports and for similarly-situated tobacco products where the SE Report had been submitted at least 90 days prior to introduction in the market. As a preliminary matter, FDA said that requesting enforcement discretion in a citizen petition is not "within the scope of the FDA's citizen petition procedures," yet FDA elected to address the concerns underlying the request for a policy of enforcement discretion. FDA also indicated that it had issued orders for both Lorillard products, SE0003730 and SE0003731.

Lorillard had submitted SE Reports for its two new products, non-menthol versions of its 2007 Newport Lights Menthol, in October 2011. FDA indicated it its Technical Project Lead Memoranda for the products that both products had amendments and responses to deficiencies, with the most recent response dated February 8, 2013, and FDA's response dated June 25, 2013. The new products differed from the grandfathered predicate products by: 1) absence of menthol, 20 presence of fire standard compliant cigarette paper, and 3) changes to design features to maintain consistency of smoke delivery. FDA's reviews included chemistry, engineering, toxicology, social science, addiction, and an environmental assessment. FDA found the two new products to be substantially equivalent because: 1) the exclusion of menthol would not adversely impact initiation, dependence, or cessation of use, 2) the depth of inhalation would be equivalent and not raise different questions of public health, and 3) constituents in smoke delivered from the comparison products maintains an equivalent risk to the user and does not raise different questions of public health.

FDA agreed with Lorillard's assertion that the FD&C Act did not mandate a timeframe for FDA's response to an SE Report. FDA said that it has been "working diligently" to provide feedback to parties to address filing deficiencies, which have been significant and omnipresent, as well as "working expeditiously" to review SE Reports. FDA further intends to "establish performance measures" to include specific timeframes for SE Report review phases. In addition, FDA has conducted and webinars to provide information concerning observed deficiencies to the tobacco product industry to help to improve future submissions and reduce the number of review cycles. FDA described the SE Report review process as "can be complex" with "a wide range in the quality and completeness," which further requires a review of the product to determine if it complies with the FD&C Act.

Interestingly, FDA's response to Lorillard's two referenced SE Reports via the Technical Project Lead Memoranda were just a day short of one year after the Petition was filed. Time will tell whether FDA provides more definitive timeframes for reviewing such SE Reports and how industry addresses the perceived review cycles in terms of filing their SE Reports before intended marketing of the new tobacco products.

October 18, 2013

Prometheus Shared REMS Petition Denied for Now But FDA Leaves Door Open

duelingsquirrels.jpgOn October 7, 2013, in the midst of the government shutdown, FDA responded to a Citizen Petition filed by Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. ("Prometheus") concerning shared risk evaluation and mitigation strategies ("REMS"), FDA Docket No. FDA-2013-P-0572. In its Petition, Prometheus requested "complete notice and comment rulemaking establishing the standards and processes for a single, shared REMS [Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies]" and waivers for the requirement for a single, shared REMS. Prometheus also requested that it be given notice and the opportunity to engage in any process used by FDA to determine whether to grant a waiver from the requirement for a single, shared REMS for Lotronex® (alosetron hydrochloride). Additional details concerning their Petition may be found in a previous blog here.

As with many citizen petition responses these days, FDA granted the Petition in part and denied it in part, but for now the requests were essentially denied. First, FDA said that it was still deciding whether to initiate notice-and-comment rulemaking or issue guidance for single, shared REMS system development and denied this request at this time. Instead, FDA described how it has handled other single, shared REMS with elements to assure safe use ("ETASU") where the statute mandates innovator and generic companies to work together to implement a single, shared REMS rather than having multiple programs that create an additional healthcare burden. First, FDA said that it notifies both the innovator and generic companies of the single, shared REMS requirement. The Petition states that then:

FDA has expected that negotiation of the single, shared REMS would begin promptly thereafter, and would proceed concurrently with the review of the ANDA [abbreviated new drug application] application. . . .

In addition to monitoring the IWG's [industry working group's"] progress on developing a REMS, FDA has acted to help ensure that sponsors were cooperating and that there were no obstacles to developing a single, shared system. When a company indicated to the Agency that another company (brand or generic) was not receptive or responsive to such efforts, the Agency has held teleconferences, individually or jointly, with firms involved, and/or has asked them to come to FDA for face-to-face discussions to help facilitate resolution of any issues that were preventing moving forward on a single, shared
system. . . .

Unlike the elements of the REMS, which are reviewed and approved by FDA, cost-sharing, governance, and other business issues relating to the implementation of single, shared REMS are left to the discretion of the sponsors.

Continue reading "Prometheus Shared REMS Petition Denied for Now But FDA Leaves Door Open" »

October 16, 2013

Withdrawal of Bupropion Hydrochloride Extended-Release 300 mg by Watson

stagehook.jpgBased on data submitted by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Watson") (recently merged with Actavis Inc. ("Actavis")), FDA announced last week that Watson's generic bupropion hydrochloride ("HCl") extended-release ("ER") 300 mg tablet product is not therapeutically equivalent to Wellbutrin XL® 300 mg, the reference listed drug ("RLD"). Therapeutically equivalent drugs generally may be substituted for each other with the expectation that the substituted product will produce the same clinical effect and safety profile when used according to the labeling. Watson has agreed voluntarily to withdraw this product from the distribution chain.

Last year, FDA also reviewed data indicating that Budeprion XL 300 mg (bupropion hydrochloride extended-release tablets), manufactured by Impax Laboratories, Inc. ("Impax"), and marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ("Teva"), is not therapeutically equivalent to Wellbutrin XL® 300 mg. Impax requested that the Agency withdraw approval of Budeprion XL 300 mg extended-release tablets. Impax and Teva stopped shipping the product and issued detailed information to their customers.

FDA has changed the Therapeutic Equivalence Code in the FDA's Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Orange Book) for the Impax and Watson products from AB (therapeutically equivalent) to BX (data are insufficient to determine therapeutic equivalence). FDA does not anticipate a drug shortage.

Continue reading "Withdrawal of Bupropion Hydrochloride Extended-Release 300 mg by Watson" »