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YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR ANALYSIS OF ISSUES AFFECTING THE PHARMA & BIOTECH SECTORS

Morgan Lewis FDA, litigation, and healthcare lawyers authored a LawFlash outlining key issues that companies marketing products and services for coronavirus (COVID-19) should be aware of, including healthcare, FDA, clinical laboratory, product liability, and digital and telehealth laws and regulations. Many companies working on COVID-19 products, services, and treatments are not traditional healthcare or life sciences companies. This, however, is a highly regulated space, and regulators are continually issuing new policies and regulations. As companies lend their expertise to the battle against the pandemic, they should be aware of the relevant regulatory and legal requirements to avoid enforcement and liability risks.

As summarized in a July 17 LawFlash, FDA has resumed inspections of regulated domestic facilities using a new risk assessment rating system that takes into account the reopening phase of the applicable state, and county level COVID-19 statistics. Based on the risk rating, in any particular US geographic area, FDA may decide to only conduct only mission-critical inspections, inspections with precautions to protect vulnerable staff, or all regulatory inspections. All inspections will be preannounced.

Morgan Lewis FDA lawyers authored a LawFlash on June 29 summarizing FDA’s drug and biologic coronavirus (COVID-19) guidances to date. As noted by the authors, entities within the drug and biologic industries should continue to track FDA’s COVID-19-related actions, as additional guidance and modifications to existing guidances are likely. In fact, just days following the LawFlash, FDA updated its guidance on the Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to further clarify procedures for informed consent and the use of remote video conference participant visits and published a new guidance on Development and Licensure of Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19. With the continuation of the pandemic and the recent surge in cases, we should expect FDA to continue to quickly push out guidances that have an immediate effect. These guidances not only provide direction on how industry can address immediate challenges and questions, but how FDA may make more enduring regulatory changes.

Our FDA lawyers discuss provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that are of particular concern and interest for the pharmaceutical, medical device, animal drug, and food industries, as well the potential effects of the stimulus package, in this recent LawFlash.

Read the full LawFlash >>

As we reported on Health Law Scan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Open Payments COVID-19 Announcement on March 25, citing its plans to exercise enforcement discretion regarding the late or incomplete submission of Program Year 2019 data in some cases.

Through FDA’s Policy for Certain REMS Requirements During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, FDA provides temporary relief from laboratory testing and imaging requirements for certain drugs and biologics subject to REMS with those specific prerequisites. These relaxed requirements will allow patients continued access to their medications during social distancing. Rebecca Dandeker and Jacqueline Berman dissect the new policy in their recently authored LawFlash.

Read the LawFlash.

The FDA announced on March 18 that it is suspending onsite routine domestic inspections in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and help flatten the pandemic curve. This announcement follows a March 10 guidance that routine foreign inspections were suspended. For-cause inspections will proceed if deemed “mission-critical.” Dennis Gucciardo, Michele Buenafe, and Jaqueline Berman address the tools that FDA will use to oversee the safety and quality of FDA-regulated products during this emergency in their recently authored LawFlash.

Read the full LawFlash.

With the increasing numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and the declaration of a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are assessing how this situation may impact business operations.

Some areas that companies should consider include the following:

  • Supply chain disruption, including active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and excipient shortages
  • Drug shortages and related FDA notices
  • FDA inspection priority shifts
  • Potential impacts on import surveillance
  • Delays in FDA’s review of pending drug applications
  • Possible impacts on clinical trials and necessary changes to relevant trial documents
  • The impact on drug promotion and new risks created by the changing landscape

For further analysis, please see our March 13 LawFlash, Potential Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industries.

FDA issued a draft guidance, Demonstrating Substantial Evidence of Effectiveness for Human Drugs and Biological Products (Draft Guidance), on December 19, 2019, as an expansion of its 1998 guidance, Providing Clinical Evidence of Effectiveness for Human Drug and Biological Products (1998 Guidance). The 1998 Guidance provided examples of evidence that FDA could consider to be confirmatory evidence to potentially support FDA approval of a marketing application based on one adequate and well-controlled clinical trial. The new Draft Guidance provides further detail on clinical trial design considerations, as well as forms of confirmatory evidence that sponsors may consider when proposing to rely on a single adequate and well-controlled clinical trial.

As part of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) overall reorganization of the Office of New Drugs, the former Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP), the FDA office responsible for approving cancer therapies, was recently restructured and renamed the Office of Oncologic Diseases (OOD).

Per Dr. Richard Pazdur, the acting OOD director, the reorganization will allow for greater stakeholder engagement and streamline the drug review process. OOD is now composed of six divisions, including three divisions of oncology.