Making A Move To The Hamptons

luxury home for sale

Live Like A Celebrity And Move To The Hamptons

Given that it is such a brief travel from New York or even New Jersey, the unbelievable amount of natural beauty that exists here in East Hampton is extremely astonishing. If you haven’t been here, there are these long stretches of blue Coast lines that are flowing with golden sands. In addition, the natural landscapes that exist, there are also plenty of city parks that unite to form one of the most relaxing and breathtaking destinations along the upper East Coast. If you live near here and you have money, then you know about the Hamptons! There are mega movie stars and musicians that own beautiful property here, which as a result has attracted fantastic restaurants and dining establishments for those that like the finer things in life. There are posh boutiques popping up all over town, and despite its prevalence, however, East Hampton has worked tirelessly to keep its village-like charm, something you will quickly if you visit on vacation or decide to move to the Hamptons. There are few moving companies we trust in New York and New Jersey to move families into the Hamptons, but the team at Bluebell Moving And Storage has proven time and time again that they are the East Coasts premier moving agency for the upper class on the East Coast

As A New Resident Prepare To Shop And Surf The Hamptons

Due to its astonishing landscape, perfect location, and natural abundance of awesomeness, East Hampton has a lot of activities for you to get into once you move to the Hamptons. Main Beach is the biggest attraction for a lot of East Hampton locals and visitors. Believe it or not, it is among some of the best-ranked shorelines in the country, but it is more than just a place to relax on the beach and soak in some sun rays. Main Beach hosts many of the college’s water sports competitions, there is surfing, biking, paddle boarding, body surfing, and boogie boarding. Those of you that prefer spending money on fashion, you will love what Main Street has to offer, with its fashionable posh boutiques, they cater to the upper class that has money to spend on the nicer things in life. If that is not you, don’t bother moving here because poor people don’t fit in.

Embrace The Lavish Culture Of The Hamptons

If you can tear yourself away from the shore, the city of East Hampton has lots of family-friendly attractions to check out during the day and in the evenings. One of the true gems of Long Island is LongHouse Reserve. The beautifully maintained garden stretches 16 acres across the Hamptons and is filled with amazing eye-catching stone sculptures. The Pollock-Krasner House (once home to the artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner) is just another location that civilization aficionados will not want to miss out on checking out, true history at it’s finest. Folks of all ages will love the fascinating tour, and children will love making their very own Pollock-style drip paintings. Living in the Hamptons offers so many great things to enjoy, and those are just a few. Becoming culturally aware of art and the area will be necessary if you are going to fit in here.

If You Are Lucky Enough To Buy Shorefront Property

If you are lucky enough to buy shorefront property you better soak it up! Most families that buy into this luxury area don’t give up their property that easy. move to the hamptons - family home in east hamptonHouses and land are passed down through the generations over the years and children and grandchildren are often left with vacation homes they rather not sell. The experience living on the shore is unforgettable. Even though the months of June through August are the nicest, September is also a fantastic time to enjoy some good sun and good times. If you are not a sun worshiper, late spring is also an amazing time of year. Temperatures are somewhat milder, but East Hampton nonetheless retains its magical, village-like vibe. For those that want to move to the Hamptson this vibe is priceless, for visitors making a vacation of the Hamptons, they often times do not want to leave!

If You Make The Move To The Hamptons Enjoy The Parks

When you move here you may find that there is an overwhelming amount of things to do at first. Moving in, unpacking, finding your way around and all that fun stuff. But after you get settled, you need to check out the Hampton Parks. East Hampton is home to no less than 8 country parks and two county parks, with Cedar Point County Park being the most popular destination among local residents and out of town visitors. It encompasses over 600 acres of coastal beauty and is famous for its magnificent views of Gardiner’s Bay. There is an abundance of things to do such as fishing, hiking, biking, and playing in the park. Additionally, It plays host to a rich ecosystem of wildlife together with everything from deer to ducks. There are also designated dog areas for the dog lovers of the Hamptons. The rich love their poodles and purse dogs, there is no shortage of those dogs here in our parks. Locals take pride in their parks and we ask that if you move to the Hamptons that you bring your dog out to enjoy the natural beauty with you that you clean up after your animal if they poop in the park grass.

READ: New Jersey Proposes New Limits……

{ Comments are closed }

Why You Need Orthodontic Insurance Coverage

Why You Need Orthodontic Insurance Coverage

Insurance insures help patients when they want financial aid to obtain the needed service and have a difficulty. Such policies are used by them as a threat coverage tool, and one main policy folks take, is orthodontic insurance if they have been aware about their oral health. Correcting abnormalities and dental issues like misaligned or damaged teeth can improve grin and an individual’s facial features. Sadly, the prices can bite difficult in the lack of quality insurance. Dental treatment from Sky Orthodontist Oklahoma City changes among individuals so, the adolescents; therefore, many parents are under pressure in the adolescents who need to wear good looking braces.

Things become a lot simpler as the cover protects all processes and gear when you’ve got insurance insuring an orthodontist’s treatment. Check whether the policy contains coverage of treatment if you’ve got an existing dental insurance. Should it not have, then contemplate purchasing a supplementary form especially for this to cover your treatment prices. It’ll save you big time if you’ve got family members that want braces or treatment.

Just like your dental or insurance coverage that is routine, you’ll need to pay a monthly or annual premium. More than a few companies pay as much as fifty percent of the overall care expenses. So, if treatment is required by some of your nearest and dearest at once, your financial weight can ease significantly.

A bulk of the expenses come from the price of gear used in the restoration procedure like other additional dental products, braces, and retainers. The price of dental x rays, allowances that are needed, and monthly visits influence the amount being spent on treatment making it higher as opposed to dental care services that are routine. Averagely, the supplier to cater up to a specific quantity of dental care per year after which the maximum annual sum for all the dental prices become your company was just wanted by the typical dental cover.

In several cases, such processes are seen by individuals as being just decorative thus resulting in just several insurance companies providing cover for such a treatment services.

{ Comments are closed }

Is It Necessary To See A Dentist Frequently?

Is It Necessary To See A Dentist Frequently?

The prevention of periodontal disease, cavities, and bad breath is reached with oral direction techniques which are powerful and affordable, easy to perform on a daily basis. A professional should be consulted or more often depending on significant care attempts and dental demands. Dentist OKC offers complete oral health care services to patients to help in the care of a cavity grin that is free. Personal wellness techniques and advanced oral technology are supplied according to individual conditions.

The oral evaluation can discover changes and tooth issues in tissues indicative of major ailments including cancers and diabetes. Some of the most significant measures that people can take to maintain the healthy state of teeth would be to see with the dental offices frequently. A routine checkup contains the detection of tartar, plaque and cavities in charge of gum disease and tooth decay. The formation of a failure and bacteria can improve discoloration, oral deterioration and decay. A failure to correct oral issues including little cavities may lead to important destruction of tissue and enamel including tooth loss and acute pain.

A dentist will counsel patients on easy and affordable suggestions for health care care that is individual to grow strong teeth and gums. This can be a simple and affordable method shield the state of oral tissues and to prevent cavities. Specialized tools are integrated at the practice to supply a professional clean and accomplish places that cannot be reached with flossing and brushing. It shields against spots and decay that undermine the healthy state of pearly whites. A dental practice provides complete oral care helping in treating gum and tooth ailments. Meeting an oral professional often and following day-to-day hygiene measures can best protect and improve the state of your grin.

It is important to get it assessed time to time and to take good care of your dental health and stay healthy. Google “oral health”  if you want to learn more about the oral health.

{ Comments are closed }

Things To Look For In An Attorney Before Hiring Them

Things To Look For In An Attorney Before Hiring Them

Permit me to start by saying that do it yourself has its limitations. Certainly, contracts can be drafted by you by yourself, it is possible to survive discussions that are grotesque with your company customers, a married dispute can be settled by you but you should get an attorney when the demand to come to court appears. Expenses will be incurred, professional fees must be paid and the normally drawn-out procedure must be born. The prices of solving a difficulty are much greater in relation to the prices of preventing the issue. However, hiring a Sugar Land criminal defense attorney can eliminate the complexity, who knows what needs to be done.

When locating a lawyer so, search for a “competent” attorney. Before you start to share your innermost secrets together it’s absolutely ethical to require a lawyer permit. Generally though, their certifications would hang. He may be a professional in any among the following types of law: taxation law, labor law, civil law, international law, litigation, or criminal law. These are the important types. Therefore, you may learn of an immigration lawyer or a litigation attorney. Note however, that attorneys’ specialties are “obtained” through expertise, not only because they believe they have been excellent at it.

This can be one facet of being a lawyer where a youthful, inexperienced attorney can in fact get ahead of a seasoned one. Young attorneys usually are sympathetic, encouraging and lively. They have a tendency to treat their customers like their infants. They take care of every small detail, even the ones that are unimportant. But this just is paying customers desire to be treated. Customers often believe that they’re getting their money’s worth with the type of focus they can be becoming.

The personal qualities to try to find in a New Hampshire personal injury attorney depend significantly on the type of customer you might be. Should you be the no nonsense sort, you may choose to hire an old attorney who is about to retire. These kinds of attorney are interested in what you will need to say. Occasionally, they’re not thinking about what they must say. But their expertise is impeccable. The credibility of an attorney may be viewed in several circumstances. It can be built on charm coupled with referrals from previous satisfied customers. To be sure, no attorney can get customers if he’s not trustworthy and believable.

So at this point you have a credible, skilled and competent injury attorney having the individual qualities you try to find. Another matter to contemplate is whether that attorney can be acquired to attend to your own issue. Your attorney will say he is capable, willing and happy to help you. He said the identical thing to last week, and several others this morning, and the week. The point is, an attorney can only just do so much. He can not all be attending hearings all. He’d likely resort to rescheduling or cancelling hearings and assemblies that are significant to make ends meet. If your preferred attorney has a law firm, there will surely be other attorneys who can attend in case he is unavailable to you personally. You’ll find this satisfactory but not until your case continues to be reassigned to another from one hand.

The representation starts when you meet with your customer. This, nevertheless, isn’t what defines professionalism. So don’t be misled by the attorney-appear alone. It’d be amazing if your attorney can pull it away with the professionalism that is authentic and the attorney appearance though.

{ Comments are closed }

New COVID-19 Guidances for Drugs and Biologics: FDA Provides Further Clarity on the Pre-IND Process and Clinical Trial Expectations

New COVID-19 Guidances for Drugs and Biologics: FDA Provides Further Clarity on the Pre-IND Process and Clinical Trial Expectations

By Deborah L. Livornese

Two new guidances, both issued by FDA on May 11, 2020, focus on drugs and biological products proposed for use against COVID-19.  The first is entitled COVID-19 Public Health Emergency:  General Considerations for Pre-IND Meeting Requests for COVID-19 Related Drugs and Biological Products (the “Pre-IND Guidance”) and the second is COVID-19:  Developing Drugs and Biological Products for Treatment or Prevention (the “Clinical Guidance”).  Both provide more insight into FDA’s expectations for drug development programs for new treatments for COVID-19.  FDA intends that these guidances will remain in effect only for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, although FDA expects to revise and reissue the Clinical Guidance within 60 days of termination, taking into consideration lessons-learned from its experience and comments received to the extent appropriate.

In the Pre-IND Guidance, FDA cites the numerous inquiries and applications it has received from prospective sponsors and the Agency’s need to obtain key information in order to efficiently address proposals and ensure they are properly evaluated in a timely manner.  It may be that the Agency has been inundated with pre-IND meeting requests (as well as requests for an Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) under its Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (“CTAP”) many of which do not include the type of information essential to evaluation.  FDA’s CTAP web page states that as of April 16, 2020, FDA had received 950 inquiries and proposals for COVID-19 related drug development.  These guidances appear to be an effort to improve the quality of those inquiries and proposals, and to highlight that the vast majority of proposed therapies are more appropriate for the investigational new drug (“IND”) route rather than the EUA route which requires more fully developed data to support.

The Pre-IND Guidance

For sponsors that already have an active IND for a drug in development, FDA recommends submitting a new pre-IND meeting request for a proposed COVID-19 indication, rather than amending their current submissions, in order to allow FDA to quickly identify, prioritize and assess the proposed study.  FDA also recommends that drug development discussions be initiated under the pre-IND program, rather than a pre-EUA request, noting that submitting a pre-IND request does not preclude submitting an EUA request if it becomes appropriate and that, in most cases, at the time a sponsor seeks to initiate discussion with FDA the available information is insufficient to determine effectiveness.  Until enough information is available for FDA to make a determination that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks, an EUA is not the appropriate mechanism.

The Pre-IND Guidance lays out a list of general content recommendations most of which are comparable to what would be expected for any pre-IND meeting (e.g., drug name and description, brief description of manufacturing, proposed indication, existing pharmacokinetic, nonclinical and clinical data, suspected mechanism of action).  FDA cautions that while it may, in the case of a proposal for an unapproved use of an approved drug, exercise some flexibility in the type and amount of nonclinical data required to proceed, typically nonclinical in vivo data will be required.  The guidance also describes the types of nonclinical studies needed for small molecule drugs and biological products, and calls out inhalation drugs, in particular, as requiring toxicology studies to support the proposed dose and route of administration.   FDA also advises, however, that for cellular and gene therapies, blood products, vaccines and other complex biological products regulated by the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (“CBER”), there may be additional considerations. Inclusion of a draft protocol in the pre-IND meeting request is strongly encouraged.

Specific to COVID-19, FDA notes that some sponsors may seek development advice in the very early stages, and directs sponsors who do not yet have antiviral activity information, but have reason to believe the drug may have potential activity against the COVID-19 virus to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases web page which contains information about preliminary screening activities that may be available.

Finally, the guidance provides the email addresses for questions about the process for CDER-regulated drugs and for CBER-regulated drugs (COVID19-productdevelopment@fda.hhs.gov and CBERProductJurisdiction@fda.hhs.gov, respectively), as well as one for sponsors unsure of how their drug would be regulated ( COVID19-productdevelopment@fda.hhs.gov ).

The Clinical Guidance

Vaccines and convalescent plasma are specifically excluded from the scope of the Clinical Guidance which focuses on Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies of drugs and other biologics (we refer to both as drugs unless a distinction is necessary), with recommendations specific to COVID-19 studies.  The key considerations covered include study population, trial design (including length of study, use of standard of care (“SOC”), early stopping criteria), efficacy endpoints, and safety and statistical considerations.  Many of the recommendations are not unique to studies involving COVID-19.

For treatment trials, FDA recommends that the baseline severity of the enrolled population be documented and provides criteria for defining categories of severity.  The population should include persons at high risk of complications such as the elderly, those with underlying cardiovascular or respiratory disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, and the immunocompromised.  Due to the disproportionate effects seen on the elderly, sponsors are directed to consider conducting trials in nursing homes and other elder care facilities.  The need for racially and ethnically diverse populations is noted.  Specific to COVID-19, the possible need to close some sites and open new ones during the study due to the expected fluctuation of disease in regions should be anticipated and addressed in the study design.  FDA notes that children should not be categorically excluded, and encourages enrollment of pregnant and lactating individuals in Phase 3 studies.

It is no surprise that FDA strongly recommends that drugs for preventing or treating COVID-19 be evaluated in randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials using a superiority design, and that background SOC be maintained in all treatment arms.  The evolving nature of the SOC should be taken into consideration, as well as whether the SOC has the same mechanism of action as the investigational agent.  FDA advises limiting in-person data collection to the extent possible due to infection control concerns.  The appropriate length of the study will depend, in part, on the population being treated with shorter arms for trials involving mechanically ventilated patients (e.g., four weeks) and longer for studies of those who are less ill.  Whether it is appropriate to move directly to conducting a trial of sufficient size and design to provide substantial evidence of effectiveness and characterization of safety or a smaller pilot study is needed first will depend on how much preclinical and preliminary clinical evidence is available and how compelling it is.

FDA also encourages sponsors to use an independent data monitoring committee (“DMC”) and take into consideration the possibly rapid enrollment rate and incorporating a potential pause in enrollment to allow the DMC to assess data before dosing the entire study population.  Prospectively planned stopping criteria are also recommended.

In its recommendations on efficacy endpoints, FDA notably states that virologic measures may be appropriate for a Phase 2 trial, but will not be appropriate as a primary endpoint in a Phase 3 trial because of the lack of an established predictive relationship between viral reduction and the clinical benefit of how a patient feels, functions or survives.  FDA considers viral measurements as appropriate secondary endpoints in Phase 3 trials.

Examples of important clinical outcome measures in treatment trials are provided and include all-cause mortality, respiratory failure (e.g., need for mechanical ventilation), a move to ICU or hospitalization, objective measures of improvement (e.g., return to room air or other baseline oxygen requirement), and resolution of symptoms.  The choice of endpoint and the time of measurement should take into consideration the population being studied.  FDA advises that potential relapses should be addressed in the endpoint definition to ensure an adequate assessment of the durability of response.

For prevention trials, FDA states that the primary endpoint should be the occurrence of laboratory-confirmed infection with the virus (with or without symptoms) or infection with symptoms through a specified time point.  FDA also notes that ascertaining whether COVID-19 is milder in those receiving preventive treatment is of interest and recommends collecting clinical outcome data (e.g., hospitalization) and data on symptoms for this purpose.

Among the statistical considerations listed in the guidance are a few specific to COVID-19.  In particular, FDA recommends that if the study enrolls a mix of patients with varying baseline severity levels, a subgroup or interaction analysis by baseline severity should be conducted to assess for differences in treatment effect.

{ Comments are closed }

FDA Provides Additional Temporary Flexibility Concerning Labeling of Foods for Humans

FDA Provides Additional Temporary Flexibility Concerning Labeling of Foods for Humans

By Riëtte van Laack

Last week, FDA announced availability of a guidance that would temporarily  provide flexibility regarding certain labeling requirements during (and possibly after) the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the fifth time since the start of the pandemic that FDA announced flexibility regarding labeling regulations for foods.  The temporary policies are intended to ease manufacturers’ problems due to supply-chain issues associated with the pandemic.

FDA’s latest action addresses FDA’s position regarding manufacturers’ substitution of certain hard-to-get ingredients in their products without changing the label.  Under the temporary guidance, manufacturers may make some minor formulation changes without changing the labeling provided the changes do not pose a health or safety issue and do not cause significant changes in the finished food.

The  guidance discusses various factors that FDA will consider and provides several examples illustrating when FDA would not object to substitution without a conforming label change.  Not surprisingly, the formulation change can not cause any potential adverse health effect, e.g., the replacement ingredient may not be a major allergen,  a sulfite, or another ingredient associated with food sensitivity, e.g., aspartame.  Replacement of a characterizing ingredient, e.g., cinnamon in cinnamon rolls, would not be appropriate either.

With the exception of bleached flour, minor formulation changes to food(s) that involve a food standard are not covered under this guidance.  Bleached flour is subject to a standard of identity.  However, because of a shortage of the bleaching ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, FDA will not object to substitution of unbleached flour for bleached flour without a corresponding label change.

The labeling flexibilities associated with formulation changes set out in this guidance remain in place only as long as needed to help ensure an adequate food supply during and after the pandemic.  FDA encourages manufactures to use digital disclosures, stickers and point of sale labeling as alternative ways to inform consumers about the formulation changes.

In the same guidance, FDA also provides flexibility regarding disclosure of calorie declaration for food from vending machines under 21 C.F.R. § 101.8.  This flexibility applies for the duration of the pandemic.

As noted above, this is not the first time that FDA provided flexibility regarding food labeling rules.  Previous guidances address nutrition labeling on food packages intended for restaurants and food manufacturers that may not be labeled for retail sale, menu labeling at chain restaurants, and the packaging and labeling of eggs during the pandemic.

In addition, separate from any guidance, FDA announced in March 2020, that it would work “cooperatively with manufacturers for the remainder of the year [i.e., Dec. 31, 2020] regarding using updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels and will not focus on enforcement actions during this time.”  Previously, FDA had announced that it would do so until July 1, 2020.

{ Comments are closed }

Junior to Mid-Level Associate: Litigation/Internal Investigations

Junior to Mid-Level Associate: Litigation/Internal Investigations

Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. seeks to add a 1st to 4th year associate to its enforcement and litigation team.  Our team investigates and defends against threatened enforcement actions by government prosecutors and regulators, including the FDA and DEA.  Types of matters include:

  • Representing clients in False Claims Act investigations or in criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice;
  • Assisting clients in investigations by U.S. Attorney’s Offices, DEA, or Main Justice, including responding to administrative and criminal subpoenas;
  • Conducting internal investigations;
  • Representing FDA-regulated entities and DEA registrants in administrative hearings and federal courts; and
  • Litigating affirmative and defensive civil litigation matters.

The boutique, collaborative nature of this firm provides junior attorneys unique opportunities to work directly with clients and to contribute in substantive ways to sophisticated, high-end matters.  Strong verbal and writing skills are required.  The ideal candidate will have experience working at FDA, DOJ, or DEA, prior big firm experience, including litigation experience, and a federal judicial clerkship.  E-discovery expertise is a bonus.

Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.  HP&M is an equal opportunity employer.  Please send your curriculum vitae, transcript, and a writing sample to Anne K. Walsh (awalsh@hpm.com).  Candidates must be members of the DC Bar or eligible to waive in.

Drug Development Attorney

We are seeking an attorney to work with our drug development team. The attorney must possess at least two years of relevant experience in the drug development arena, either by working at FDA or by assisting companies develop product development strategy or navigate the regulatory process.  Strong verbal and writing skills are required.  Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.  HP&M is an equal opportunity employer.

Please send your curriculum vitae, transcript, and a writing sample to Anne K. Walsh (awalsh@hpm.com).  Candidates must be members of the DC Bar or eligible to waive in.

{ Comments are closed }

GAO report on Safety of Cell-Cultured Meat; Many Questions About Technology Remain

GAO report on Safety of Cell-Cultured Meat; Many Questions About Technology Remain

By Riëtte van Laack

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled “Food Safety: FDA and USDA Could Strengthen Existing Efforts to Prepare for Oversight of Cell-Cultured Meat.”  This report was requested by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and concerns the federal oversight of cell-cultured (or cell-based) meat, poultry and seafood, specifically the extent to which FDA and USDA are cooperating.

Based on the GAO’s findings from a literature review, analysis of documentation from FDA, USDA and stakeholder groups, review of public comments and site visits to select cell-cultured meat firms, the GAO outlined several recommendations for executive action, including a more effective collaboration between the FDA and USDA and identification of specific outcomes and a method for monitoring and evaluating progress towards those outcomes. In addition, the GAO noted that the USDA/FDA interagency agreement on cell-cultured meat does not cover cell-cultured seafood other than catfish. FDA and USDA purportedly have agreed that those seafood products will be regulated exclusively by FDA – a decision that GAO recommended be formally documented so as to provide greater clarity to industry.

As readers of this blog know, for meat and poultry (and catfish, which is also under the jurisdiction of USDA), a major issue has been which agency, FDA or USDA should regulate these cell-cultured products.  After several meetings, hearings, etc., FDA and USDA announced that the Agencies had come to an agreement that FDA would oversee the early phases of cell-cultured meat production, i.e., obtaining cell samples, cell selection, storage, and cell growth/product through the point of harvest and at that point, USDA would take over the oversight for meat and poultry (not for seafood other than catfish).  The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was short on details.

GAO noted that the Agencies have created three working groups: a pre-market assessment working group lead by FDA, a working group that is focused on developing joint principles for product labeling and claims led by USDA, and a working group that addresses procedures for the transfer of inspection authority, co-led by FDA and USDA.  However, GAO concluded that developing a strategy as to how to evaluate the safety of cell-cultured meat, poultry and seafood products is hindered by a lack of information about technologies used in production.  Specifically,  information about the technology being used and the eventual commercial production methods as well as the final products is lacking.  Questions that remain include:

  • Use of source animals used for biopsy samples (and how frequently will new cells need to be collected).
  • Use of genetic engineering: Some companies plan to use genetic engineering to select/create desirable traits in the cells used to culture, whereas other companies have represented that they will not use such techniques.
  • Use of antibiotics: Initially, many companies represented that they would not use (or need) antibiotics in the production of cell-cultured meat.  However, there is uncertainty as to whether the large-scale production of cell-cultured products will be possible without their use.
  • Other unknowns include the composition of the growth medium, use of scaffolding, and product composition. This type of information is needed for evaluation of safety.
  • Naming of the final products is also uncertain. As we have previously reported, the traditional (animal) industry (and farmers) has opposed naming the cell-based products using terms that have been used for products derived from whole animals. Several states have enacted laws reserving the meat and poultry terms for the traditionally produced products.  At this time, it is not clear whether those laws will stand.
  • Environmental benefits: Proponents of cell-cultured meat claim that cell cultured meat is environmentally friendly. However, there exists disagreement about the potential benefits, and absent information about scaled up production, use and disposal of growth media, possible need for antibiotics, etc., it is not possible to evaluate the potential environmental, animal welfare and health impact.

{ Comments are closed }

COVID-19: It’s a Threat. And It’s Material

COVID-19: It’s a Threat. And It’s Material

By Sara W. Koblitz

Now that most of the country has been in lockdown for about two months, everyone is undoubtedly aware that COVID-19 has been declared an “official” public health emergency.  In addition to the official declaration in January, HHS issued an additional and separate declaration – called a PREP Act declaration – that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency under section 319 of the Public Health Safety Act.  As we explained in some of our earlier COVID-19 coverage, this PREP Act declaration provides broad statutory immunity from liability under federal and state law for public health activities related to combatting COVID-19, such as the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration, or use of one or more “covered countermeasures,” defined as a drug, biologic, or device intended to address the public health emergency, to address side effects of such products, or to enhance the effect of such products.   While the PREP Act is critical to the COVID-19 response, it also  offers incentives for the development of drugs to treat “material threats” –but right now, that incentive cannot be utilized to address COVID-19.

As an added incentive to develop more medical countermeasures, defined as “FDA-regulated products (biologics, drugs, devices) that may be used in the event of a potential public health emergency stemming from a terrorist attack with a biological, chemical, or radiological/nuclear material, or a naturally occurring emerging disease,” the 21st Century Cures Act added section 565A to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  Section 565A requires FDA to award a priority review voucher (PRV) to sponsors of certain medical countermeasure applications.  The application must be eligible for Priority Review, approved by FDA, and the first instance of approval for the active ingredient of the drug, including an ester or salt of the active ingredient.  Most importantly, the medical countermeasure must be an application for a drug intended to prevent or treat harm from a material threat or intended to mitigate, prevent, or treat harm arising from the administration of a drug or biological product against a material threat.  “Material threats,” defined under 42 USC 247d–6b(c)(2), are threats “sufficient to affect national security” that have been determined to be a priority by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with Health and Human Services (HHS).  PRVs will be awarded only to sponsors of drug applications for products that have been designated a “material threat.”

As critical as it is to develop drugs to treat COVID-19, we recently learned that even though COVID-19 has been declared a national emergency and is a pandemic wreaking havoc on the world, “a Material Threat Determination (MTD) has not been issued for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).”  This means that the country has not yet decided that we need to incentivize drug development to treat COVID-19 with a PRV, one of the most valuable incentives that FDA has to offer.  PRVs are incentives to spur the development of drugs to treat much-needed drugs to treat serious disease.  The voucher entitles the holder to designate a subsequent 505(b)(1) drug or biologic application as “priority” even if it would not otherwise have qualified for Priority Review.  Such a voucher is used to accelerate FDA’s review process of any drug by four months, allowing a drug to come to market earlier – potentially with more patent protection.  Additionally, they can be sold to other companies for substantial profit: sales of PRVs have ranged from $50 million to as much as $350 million back in in August 2015 (most seem to go for around $125 million).

Arguably, COVID-19 is the most “serious” disease this country has seen – at least in the last 100 years, and definitely since the adoption of the PREP Act.  And it certainly meets the definition of “material threat.”  But, for some reason, DHS and HHS have not yet declared it a material threat.  Ebola has been declared a material threat.  Pandemic influenza is a material threat.  Smallpox, the plague, and typhus are all medical threats.  But not COVID-19.

The major question is why doesn’t COVID-19 merit “material threat” status?  Is it because the country fears that any drug or vaccine developed to treat COVID-19 would be such a blockbuster drug that a PRV would be windfall for the developer?  Is it because companies are already striving to develop these products anyway and don’t need incentives?  Or maybe it has something to do with the public outcry that arose when FDA designated Gilead’s remdesivir an orphan drug back in March?  Regardless, there are many companies that could really benefit from any incentives to develop a COVID-19 product.  An incentive that requires very little of the agency, like a PRV, could make drug development financially feasible where it otherwise might not be.  There seems to be little reason not to declare COVID-19 a material threat, especially because a PRV is awarded only once a drug is ultimately approved.  And even if the development of a COVID-19 drug actually leads to the award of a PRV is a blockbuster drug, would it really be so bad to reward the developer with administrative priority?  Ultimately, that leaves us with a single question: why is the country not doing everything it can to incentivize drug development for COVID-19?

There’s legislation pending that may provide that incentive.  On February 28, 2020, Rep. Jeffries introduced H.R. 6019, the Cure the Coronavirus Act, which indirectly addresses the consequences of the lack of “material threat” status for COVID-19.  Congress does not have the authority to designate COVID-19 material threat, but it can find other ways to offer priority review vouchers as incentives to drug development.  This bill would do just that: instead of a “medical threat counter measure” priority review voucher, COVID-19 would become eligible for a “tropical disease” priority review voucher.  All the bill does is expand the definition of a “tropical disease” to include COVID-19.  COVID-19 is not your typical tropical disease.  FDA has explained that tropical diseases usually those that disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized populations and are found primarily in developing countries.  Obviously, COVID-19 is a lot more widespread than that.  But, even if COVID-19 is not a typical tropical disease, does it matter?  The priority review voucher for medical threat countermeasures and tropical diseases are the same.  So it provides the same incentive.

The bill hasn’t made any traction on the hill yet, as it hasn’t yet been addressed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Hopefully, it will.  It’s a clever piece of legislation that would go a long way to address the issues raised by the lack of a material threat designation.  That priority review voucher could be the incentive needed to get the right company involved in treatment development.

{ Comments are closed }

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Bring Another Lawsuit: PMRS Takes a Loss in Court

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Bring Another Lawsuit: PMRS Takes a Loss in Court

By Sara W. Koblitz

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Research Services (“PMRS”) appears to abide by the proverb “If at first you can’t succeed, try try again.”  After several denied Citizen Petitions, striking out in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and bringing then dismissing another suit against FDA in that same court, PMRS has tried its hand at influencing FDA’s abuse deterrence policy for opioids in the courts once again.  PMRS filed suit against FDA in the D.C. Circuit in December 2018 alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) when FDA refused to approve its abuse deterrent oxycodone product.  And once again, PMRS lost.

As a quick refresher, PMRS is a contract drug manufacturer that has made a habit of challenging FDA’s approval of abuse-deterrent opioids.  Most of its challenges have failed, so PMRS decided to submit to FDA its own New Drug Application (“NDA”) for an immediate-release abuse-deterrent oxycodone formulation containing a dye intended to create a “visual deterrent” to abuse by suggesting that the product was contaminated.  FDA refused to approve the NDA, determining that the proposed product labeling was false and misleading because there was no evidence that the product was, in fact, less prone to abuse by patients.  Further, there were no abuse-deterrent properties of the formulation itself, meaning that it could not be considered an “abuse-deterrent formulation.”  PMRS refused to reformulate the product and insisted that the product had abuse-deterrent dosing instructions.  PMRS argued that FDA’s approach to abuse deterrence was “misleading, unscientific, and dangerous” and requested a hearing on the agency’s approach to abuse deterrence more generally.  FDA denied this request on the grounds that legal and policy objections have no bearing on the approvability of the NDA.  After PMRS requested a hearing, FDA refused to review a labeling resubmission.

PMRS challenged the denial of its NDA approval and FDA’s procedural denials.  First, PMRS argued that a false or misleading label is not a sufficient ground to deny approval under the FDC Act.  Second, PMRS contended that denying approval of an NDA on the basis of labeling was arbitrary and capricious under the APA.  In a decision that is unlikely to surprise anyone, the D.C. Circuit found that the statute does provide FDA the authority to deny an NDA based on false and misleading labeling and that FDA’s denial of NDA approval was not arbitrary and capricious.

The Court first addressed FDA’s authority to deny an NDA based on false or misleading labeling.  The Court acknowledged that section 505 of the FDC Act states an “irreconcilable contradiction” in that it states that FDA shall approve an application if none of the grounds for denying approval in subsection (d) applies while subsection (d), containing grounds (1)-(7), states that FDA shall approve an application if grounds (d)(1) through (d)(6) do not apply.  Given this inconsistency in the statute, the Court looked to the context.  It determined that “the totality of the statutory context confirms that the FDA must deny an application if the label is false or misleading. . . .”

With respect to PRMS’s claim that denial of NDA approval was arbitrary and capricious, the Court looked at whether the decision was reasonable and reasonably explained.  In the context of a challenge to the FDA’s decision-making, the Court noted that it gives “a high level of deference” to the agency’s scientific analysis of the evidence before it.  FDA explained its reasoning in detail in the Denial Order—even if “not a model of clarity”—and “examined the material factors” and “considered the record as a whole.”  Further, FDA gave a rational explanation for its refusal to consider a resubmission with a revision to draft labeling since FDA regulations require an applicant to choose a hearing or a resubmission, and PMRS chose a hearing.  In sum, FDA provided a reasonable explanation for its decision to deny PMRS’s application and resubmission, and that’s all the APA requires.

Finally, the Court admonished PMRS for its use of the court system to convince FDA to accept its “preferred approach to abuse deterrence.”  Noting that dosing and labeling have nothing to do with abuse deterrent formulation, the Court explained that referring to the product as an “abuse-deterrent formulation” is plainly false and misleading.  PMRS provided no evidence to support its claim that its product was an abuse-deterrent formulation and therefore could not remedy the false misleading nature of its labeling.  As such, there is no relevant factual dispute providing a basis on which to grant a hearing.  Further, FDA regulations clearly state that hearings will not be granted on issues of policy and law under 21 C.F.R. § 12.24(b)(1).

Given PMRS’s litigation track record, this probably isn’t the last FDA or the courts will hear from them.

{ Comments are closed }

FDA Law Alert – May 2020

FDA Law Alert – May 2020

These are unsettling times as COVID-19 impacts our personal and professional lives, as well as those that we love.  During these unprecedented times, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. is pleased to bring you the next installment of the FDA Law Alert.  This is the fifth installment of our quarterly newsletter highlighting key postings from our nationally acclaimed FDA Law Blog.  Please subscribe to the FDA Law Blog to receive contemporaneous posts on government regulatory and enforcement activities affecting the broad cross-section of FDA-regulated industry.  As the largest dedicated FDA law firm, we are happy to help you or your clients navigate the nuances of the laws and regulations affecting them.

*****************************

COVID-19

  • Impact on Clinical Trials: James Valentine, Dave Clissold, and Jeff Shapiro discuss FDA’s Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 that addresses the unprecedented set of challenges that make conducting clinical trials difficult during a pandemic.  In a second post, the trio describes FDA’s update to the Guidance, which provides 10 responses to commonly asked questions.  This Q&A portion addresses two of the largest decisions sponsors must make as a result of this pandemic: (1) whether to continue the study and (2) whether to continue administering the investigational product.  Other Q&A’s address managing protocol deviations and amendments, helping navigate a number of contingency measures (e.g., initiating virtual visits, switching to home delivery or infusion of the investigational product, alternative monitoring), and documenting informed consent from a patient in isolation.
  • State Regulations: Kalie Richardson describes in these posts (here and here) how certain states have issued COVID-19-related waivers or suspensions affecting pharmacy staffing, facility licensure, and controlled substances distribution and inventory.  These waivers meet the dual objectives of enhancing pharmacy response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while also allowing pharmacy staff to responsibly practice social distancing.
  • Postmarketing Reporting: Anne Walsh discusses FDA’s initiative to alleviate companies’ postmarketing reporting obligations for their routine, non-COVID-19-related products during a pandemic.  Recognizing that a pandemic can result in a shortage of FDA and industry resources and staff, FDA will exercise enforcement discretion for delayed reporting of certain required adverse events reports, with the expectation that such reports will be submitted within 6 months when operations resume to pre-pandemic levels.  Walsh’s key takeaways are for companies to document any inability to meet their obligations to submit postmarket reports and to develop a robust Continuity of Operations Plan to make seamless their decision-making should (heaven forfend) another pandemic occur.
  • Compounding: In this post, Karla Palmer discusses FDA’s temporary guidance addressing the unprecedented disruptions to the supply chain caused by COVID-19 that permits the compounding of certain drug products for hospitalized patients by outsourcing facilities that have registered with FDA under FDCA § 503B.  Palmer discusses the 4 criteria outsourcing facilities must meet in order to avoid FDA action for compounding a drug product that is essentially a copy of an FDA-approved drug, for using a bulk substance not on FDA’s 503B Bulks List, or for not meeting cGMP requirements.  In a follow-up post, Palmer describes a second FDA guidance to address drug shortages during the pandemic.  This unprecedented policy allows 503A compounders to compound certain identified shortage medications for patients in hospitals without a prescription for an individually identified patient and essentially permits compounding for “office use.”

Other News

  • Healthcare: In this post, Faraz Siddiqui, Michelle Butler, and Alan Kirschenbaum describe a recent court decision out of the D.C. District Court that construed the term “original new drug application” in a manner that may offer rebate relief to companies marketing drugs approved under FDA’s pre-Hatch-Waxman paper NDA policy as well as those approved under literature-based applications submitted under FDCA § 505(b)(2).
  • Devices: Jeff Gibbs, Gail Javitt, and McKenzie Cato discuss FDA’s new approach to regulating pharmacogenomic (PGx) tests in this post.  FDA acknowledged that PGx tests could play a useful role in informing the selection or dosing of some medications for certain individuals and specifically recognized that gene-drug interactions could be adequately supported by professional guidelines, which is a step forward and a change from FDA’s prior communications.
  • Cannabis: In this post, Larry Houck describes DEA’s March 23rd Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) that would permit the issuance of additional registrations to manufacture marijuana for research and, notably, allow the agency to insert itself in the manufacturer-to-researcher equation by buying, taking possession of, and directing marijuana to researchers.  Houck discusses the NPR, subsequent U.S. obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, and possible implications of DEA being an active player in the marijuana enterprise.

In this post, Kalie Richardson describes the state regulatory landscape as it pertains to telemedicine and medical marijuana.  Several states, including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, and the District of Columbia, have issued policies waiving the requirement that patient certification be made only during an in-patient visit to be eligible for the state medical marijuana program.  Additionally, some states have deemed medical cannabis licensees as essential businesses that may remain open.

*****************************

Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. has its finger on the pulse of FDA law.  Our technical expertise and industry knowledge are exceptional in scope and depth.  Our professional team holds extensive experience with the myriad of issues faced by companies.  Please contact us with any questions you may have related to the issues described here or any other FDA-related issue affecting your industry.

{ Comments are closed }

Israeli COVID-19 Vaccine Developments Webinar – Wednesday, March 6, 2020

Israeli COVID-19 Vaccine Developments Webinar – Wednesday, March 6, 2020

By Kurt R. Karst

On Wednesday, March 6, 2020, from 12:00pm-1:00pm (Eastern) the Maryland/Israel Development Center will hold a webinar, “Israeli COVID-19 Vaccine Developments.”  The event will discuss how Israel has mobilized its scientific and technological talents to address COVID-19, and will feature the following speakers:

  • Yaky Yanai, CEO of Pluristem Therapeutics, who is working on a placenta-based cell therapy treatment for respiratory and inflammatory complications associated with COVID-19.
  • Vered Kaplan, CEO of Orgenesis, a global biotech company, which is unlocking the potential of cell and gene therapy including anti-viral technologies relevant for COVID-19 to provide life changing personalized medical treatments at the point-of-care to patients.
  • Dr. Mark Levitt, Medical Director from RedHill Biopharma, a specialty biopharmaceutical company that is working on an experimental drug, Opaganib, which has shown anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce lung inflammation in COVID-19 patients.

Zoom information will be given upon registration. For more information contact, bbogage@marylandisrael.org.  To register: https://midcisraelcovid19.eventbrite.com

{ Comments are closed }

Pricing in the Time of Price Gouging: Trying to Find a Safe Harbor

Pricing in the Time of Price Gouging: Trying to Find a Safe Harbor

By Karin F.R. Moore

As unfortunately happens during every national disaster or emergency, unscrupulous individuals and companies see an opportunity to make money.  A lot of it.  When that happens, there are always immediate calls to prosecute individuals and companies for “price gouging” certain products and taking advantage of the dire and devastating circumstances.  During natural disasters, it’s gasoline and generators; during a health emergency and pandemic, it’s PPE, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.

Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. has worked extensively with clients on all aspects of federal government drug and device pricing (here, here) and state drug price reporting and the related penalties. We have worked with drug and device clients on whether certain price concessions or services constitute fraud and abuse, or whether they fit into a Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) safe harbor (here and here). And we’ve blogged about state laws targeting generic drug price gouging.  That is a long way of saying that HPM has done a great deal of work in the area of pricing.  To an already complicated system, Covid-19 has added a whole new layer of craziness for companies, adding a price-gouging regulatory framework that is a patchwork of little-used state laws, brand new federal and state executive orders, and a federal law that was passed during the Korean War, that applies to so-called essential commodities and services (which may or may not be defined, depending on what law or executive order you are looking at).

Some may find it surprising that there is no federal law that expressly prohibits price gouging. What we do have is the aforementioned Korean War-era law, the Defense Production Act, and the President signed an Executive Order on March 23rd instructing the HHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce the anti-hoarding provisions of that Act.  The Attorney General also set up a Covid-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, led by the US Attorney in the District of New Jersey, with assistance from the DOJ Antitrust Division’s Criminal Division.  On April, 24, 2020, DOJ indicted the first person under the Executive order alleging the hoarding of face masks, face shields, surgical gowns, and disinfecting products at a Long Island warehouse and selling them at inflated prices.  While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been largely silent on price gouging and has never brought a price gouging case in its history (they have no express mandate to target excessive pricing) they are aggressively targeting companies for false Covid-19 treatment claims, false lenders targeting small businesses, and Covid-19 related robocalls.  My colleagues recently did an excellent blog post on the many recent enforcement actions by FTC, DOJ and the FDA.

At the state level, 38 or so states (and some municipalities) have some form of price gouging law, and there is legislation pending in other states.  Like the Defense Production Act, these laws are usually triggered by the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor. There are helpful summaries of the state laws at FindLaw and FMI – The Food Industry Association, among others.  In addition to the state laws, there have been quite a number of state Executive Orders issued within the last two months regarding price gouging.

These state laws, regulations and orders typically are enforced by the State Attorneys General, and fall into three categories:

  • A percentage increase cap making it unlawful for anyone to raise prices on certain products by more than a certain percentage (usually ranging from 10% to 25%), with certain exceptions.
  • A ban on “unconscionable” or “grossly excessive” price increases (sometimes defined, sometimes not)
  • Outright prohibition of any increase that raises the price higher than what was offered before the emergency declaration.

In addition, private companies have also started policing price gouging through their own policies and litigation.

Given the regulatory chaos and laser focus of government and private entities on price gouging, it is clear that there is no safe harbor for price increases. Companies who are considering pricing decisions should consider the following:

  • Has a state of emergency been declared?
  • Is the product an essential commodity or service?
  • Is the price excessive as defined by the state?
  • Is the price the result of a justifiable cost increase to the seller? Many state laws have exceptions for situations that may include passing along cost increases from suppliers.

If a company is considering any pricing decisions, they should, among other things, be aware of all the applicable federal, state and local laws, and executive orders that might regulate your product, consult with counsel, focus on their costs, build in a typical (non-emergency) margin, and make sure those decisions are well-documented and justified.

{ Comments are closed }

Swift Enforcement Against COVID Fraudsters

Swift Enforcement Against COVID Fraudsters

By Anne K. Walsh & Charles D. Snow* —

Since HHS declared a public health emergency caused by COVID-19 in February 2020, there has been an overwhelming response to develop and market products to treat or mitigate the effects of the virus.  Unfortunately, bad apples still are out there preying upon consumer fears and peddling products that claim to prevent COVID-19 (not to mention charging exorbitant prices for these fraudulent goods – stay tuned for our forthcoming post on price gouging activities).  The federal government has used a variety of tools to quickly shut down these bad actors, from issuing Warning Letters, seeking temporary restraining orders, suing for damages, and bringing criminal charges.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DOJ), have spearheaded these actions to stop companies from making unsupported claims about COVID for their FDA-regulated products.

Warning Letters

Since March 6 to the date of this blog post, FDA and FTC have issued 38 Warning Letters (WLs) to address myriad unapproved products marketed for the treatment and/or prevention of COVID-19.  These violative claims render the products unapproved new drugs as well as misbranded drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDC Act).  Representative claims include:

  • “Essential Oils to Protect Against Coronavirus . . . There are a wide range of essential oils that have been clinically proven to possess antiviral properties.” WL to Quinessence Aromatherapy LTD (Mar. 6, 2020).
  • “The most powerful anti-virus essential oils to provide defence (sic) against coronavirus include: Basil ● Bergamot ● Cajuput ● Cedarwood Virginian ● Cinnamon ● Clove Bud . . . .” Id.
  • “Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has no medical treatment. Natural antiviral herbs boost immunity & decrease virus virulence to achieve herd immunity.”  WL to Carahealth (Mar. 26, 2020).
  • “Corona-Cure Antiseptic Nasal Defense kills viruses of the Coronaviridaefamily including the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and SARS at their point of entry into your body.”  WL to Corona-cure.com (Mar. 26, 2020).
  • “Arsenicum album 30 could be taken as prophylactic medicine against Corona virus infections.” WL to Homeomart Indibuy (Apr. 1, 2020).

It is notable that there has been a disproportionate number of WLs issued to companies touting silver-containing products, such as toothpaste, colloidal mixtures, and essential oils.  The cited claims include:

  • “[T]he patented Nano Silver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented, and homeland security have said this stuff kills the whole SARS corona family, at point blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus.” WL to Free Speech Sys. LLC d/b/a Infowars.com (Apr. 9, 2020).
  • “Boost Your Immune system . . . Colloidal silver is the key to protecting yourself from the corona virus. . . . [I]f you begin to show symptoms of the virus, up your doses to 5 times a day. In a medical system that is failing . . . there is no other solution to protecting yourself from the corona virus.”  WL to Gaia’s Whole Healing Essentials, LLC (Apr. 1, 2020).
  • “Colloidal Silver in a Nebulizer, the type that is commonly prescribed by medical professionals for asthmatics and those with chronic lung problems . . . provides a real prevention regimen for a number of maladies – including the Corona Virus.” WL to JRB Enter. Grp. Inc. (Apr. 1, 2020).
  • “[I]t’s actually widely acknowledged in both science and the medical industry that ionic silver kills coronaviruses. And it’s now known that the Chinese are employing ionic silver in their fight against the spread of the coronavirus.”  WL to Colloidal Vitality LLC (Mar. 6, 2020).
  • “Even though there are no vaccines available to combat these coronaviruses, there is a home remedy of Colloidal Silver 100 ppm that has worked effectively on coronaviruses successfully for the last 123 years.” WL to Xephyr, LLC (Mar. 6, 2020).
  • “Silver Solution has been proven . . . to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on . . . and it can kill any of these known viruses[.]” WL to The Jim Bakker Show (Mar. 6, 2020).

These WLs require the targeted companies to respond by email within 48 hours with the specific steps they will take to address FDA’s and FTC’s concerns, and threaten legal action if the target does not immediately correct the violations cited in the letter.

Injunction Actions

To confront recidivist or particularly suspect actors, FDA can go straight to legal action without first issuing a WL.  On April 27, 2020, FDA filed a Complaint in Utah against Gordon Pedersen and two of his companies, My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC, alleging that the defendants fraudulently promoted their silver products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.  According to the government, the defendants began in February 2020 making claims through YouTube videos, podcasts, and websites that suggested that their silver products could destroy coronavirus and remove it from the body.  Specifically, defendants allegedly made claims that silver in the bloodstream could “usher” the virus out of the body, and that “it has been proven that Alkaline Structured Silver will destroy all forms of viruses, it will protect people from the Coronavirus.”  Complaint at 5.  The government also objected to defendant Pedersen purporting to be a medical doctor, appearing in a white coat with a stethoscope on the website, even though he does not hold a Doctor of Medicine degree and is not licensed as a medical provider in the State of Utah.

Interestingly, the government pointed to an admission from the defendant that “[w]e are not a cure for the coronavirus–there is none,” as evidence of reckless behavior, not as a disclaimer about the effectiveness of the products.  Id. at 9.  Also, the government charged the defendants with engaging in mail and wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, and not the base violation of marketing an unapproved or misbranded drug under the FDC Act.

Simultaneous with the filing of the Complaint, the government filed an ex parte motion seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) “to a prevent continuing and substantial injury to the” victims of the fraud.  TRO at 8.  The government referenced the fact that defendant Pedersen had been fired in 2011 for making unsubstantiated promotional claims, and that he had been ordered to cease and desist from holding himself out as a “naturopathic doctor.”  Id. at 3-4.  The district court in Utah issued the TRO requiring defendants to immediately remove their sales listings for silver products on their own websites and on third-party sites like Amazon, and to file with the court documentation of their proceeds from the sale of these products since January 30, 2020.  A hearing is set for May 12 to address whether the court should enter a preliminary injunction against defendants.

FTC Settlements

And FTC also has used its independent authority to take action to stop fraudulent COVID claims.  On April 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a stipulated preliminary injunction against

Whole Leaf Organics, a California company marketing a supplement containing vitamin C and herbal extracts for the treatment, prevention, and cure of COVID-19.  According to FTC, the company made claims advertising that its product could “strengthen your immunity against . . . the coronavirus” and “combat . . . the coronavirus.”  Complaint at 6.  The company further represented that such COVID-19-related benefits were clinically or scientifically proven.  Id. at 5.  The making, dissemination, and advertising of such false representations constitute a deceptive act or practice in violation of FTC Act §§ 5(a) and 12.  Id. at 14, 15.

The stipulated preliminary injunction prohibits the company, as well as its agents, employees, and attorneys, from making either express or implied representations that its product can “treat, prevent[], or reduce[] the risk of COVID-19” or claiming substantiation of such claims without the proper “competent and reliable scientific evidence” (i.e., human clinical testing).  Stipulated Prelim. Inj. at 5-7.  The injunction will be in place until the Commission either dismisses the administrative complaint, an appeals court overturns the injunction, or the Commission issues a final order.

Notably, this same company received a WL from FDA and FTC in November 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis, for marketing its CBD-containing products as dietary supplements.  According to FTC, the company did not stop making these claims, which is likely why this is the first CBD company that FTC targeted for litigation.

Criminal Charges

In an undercover operation, FDA’s criminal investigators caught a naturopathic physician selling products for $140 that he claimed could “stop” coronavirus.  Defendant Richard Marshall was charged on April 30, 2020, with a felony count of introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce.  The Criminal Complaint alleges Marschall, who has been convicted twice before for distributing misbranded drugs, billed himself as a “Health Coach” and promoted a “Dynamic Duo” of products that boost the immune system and “kills the virus.”  The U.S. Attorney’s Office COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator worked in conjunction with FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations to bring this case against Marschall, who is required to make an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on May 12, 2020.

*             *             *

We expect to see continued aggressive enforcement by the government to stop companies from taking advantage of desperate consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We recommend companies in receipt of a Warning Letter act quickly to address those issues before they escalate to litigation, as there is little justification for these claims to avoid the severe penalties that can be levied by FDA and FTC.

* Law Clerk

{ Comments are closed }