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YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR ANALYSIS OF ISSUES AFFECTING THE PHARMA & BIOTECH SECTORS
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.
In an attempt to minimize perceived obstacles to generic drug market entry, the FDA issued two draft guidance documents on May 31, 2018, related to shared system risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS), providing the industry with insight into a previously underdefined area of FDA regulation.
The Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 (Federal Right to Try Act), signed into law on May 30, creates a federal framework for patients to access investigational new drugs without enrolling in clinical trials and without FDA expanded access approval.
As precision medicine gains momentum and in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) become increasingly used in clinical trials, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies must quickly become familiar with the FDA’s investigational device framework.