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YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR ANALYSIS OF ISSUES AFFECTING THE PHARMA & BIOTECH SECTORS
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an updated draft guidance on March 7 on the nonproprietary naming of biologics, titled Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products: Update.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) on January 30 signaled what could be an about-face with regard to its role administering the List of Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluation (referred to as the Orange Book). Historically, FDA’s Orange Book role has been solely ministerial. However, over the next year, FDA may begin taking a more active approach to the Orange Book.
Human cell and gene therapy research has advanced dramatically in recent years and opened the door to potential treatments for diseases once considered incurable.
After several delays, the revised US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (also known as the Common Rule) went into effect on January 21.
FDA recently signaled that it plans to be more involved in facilitating expanded access to investigational new drugs. This follows the agency’s announcement of its efforts to improve and clarify the expanded access program (EAP), as well as state and federal legislation intended to simplify the process to use investigational drugs for treatment purposes.
One item that stakeholders may have missed, given the almost daily FDA developments, was the agency’s announcement that it will continue to improve and clarify its expanded access program (EAP).

The proposed Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2018 could become law in the near future as the Congressional Budget Office reported that the legislation would not increase the budget deficit. The proposed bill would change the oversight of the commercial marketing of OTC drugs by the FDA and authorize the collection and spending of user fees to cover the cost of expediting FDA’s administrative procedures related to OTC products. Both the Senate and the House have proposed versions of the bill that are largely similar with variances mostly in the length of exclusivity. Therefore, manufacturers can reasonably rely on the major provisions of the bill that are not likely to change.  Manufacturers can start preparing for the proposed revisions by organizing their current OTC product portfolios according to the ingredients’ current monograph status and identifying any ingredients that may be at risk for more immediate FDA action that could impact their regulatory marketing status. 

FDA recently released the framework for its Real World Evidence (RWE) program, educating stakeholders about the agency’s approach to RWE when making efficacy decisions. The document is notable more for its discussion of the limitations rather than the potential for RWE. Although FDA plans to issue a number of RWE guidance documents and conduct RWE stakeholder events, the path to routine use of RWE looks to be a long and winding one.
FDA recently announced a proposal to add an exception to the agency’s informed consent requirements. Under the proposed rule, FDA will allow Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to waive or alter informed consent for clinical trials that present only minimal risk to the subjects. This proposal is similar to the policy set forth in FDA’s guidance document on the same topic, which we have written on previously.
Law360 published an article on August 18, 2018, by Morgan Lewis life sciences lawyers that discusses the FDA’s plans to advance biosimilar products.