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Posts Tagged: "Food and Drug Administration"

FDA Resists FOIA Request for Vaccine Approval Info as Biden Administration Offers to Share it with the World

From the “one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing” category, believe it or not, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is effectively refusing to release documents it possesses relating to the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. More precisely, Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency (PHMPT), a group of doctors and scientists, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents relating to the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. After the FDA denied a request by the PHMPT to expedite release of the documents, a lawsuit was filed. In response to that lawsuit, the FDA proposed to release 500 pages per month, which would allow the agency time to redact material as necessary. Given that there are 329,000 pages responsive to the PHMPT request, at the proposed FDA rate of 500 pages per month it would take 55 years for the FDA to fully release the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine documents.

IPWatchdog LIVE ‘Jurassic Patents’ Panel Explores Patenting Challenges for Life Sciences Innovation

On the final day of IPWatchdog LIVE last week, a panel titled “Jurassic Patents: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Life Science Innovation,” moderated by president and CEO of the PCT learning center and founding partner of Berenato & White, John White, examined the challenges of patenting discoveries in the life sciences in light of recent legal developments. The panel included patent litigator and partner at Akin Gump, Dr. Rachel Elsby, patent prosecutor and shareholder with Volpe Koenig, Dr. Douglas Bucklin, and food and drug lawyer and counsel at McGuire Woods, Kae Gruner.

Tillis and Leahy Urge USPTO to Address Inconsistent Prior Art Statements by Patent Applicants at the FDA

On Thursday, September 9, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter addressed to Drew Hirshfeld, performing the functions and duties of the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), discussing the issue of inconsistent statements made by patent applicants pursuant to their disclosure requirements at the USPTO and other federal agencies, especially the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senators are asking the USPTO to take swift action to ensure that applicants are disclosing all known prior art at both the USPTO and the FDA.

Bankrupting Big Pharma Isn’t a Solution

Believe it or not, a recent op-ed in the Washington Post written by Robin Feldman took the position that pharmaceutical companies should charge prices for their drugs that would surely guarantee that they go bankrupt. An absurd position even for a law professor who is ideologically predisposed to an irrational hatred of patents, but precisely the position Feldman articulated. How someone as smart as a law professor does not understand basic business reality raises important questions about her intellectual honesty—or at the very least raises questions about whether she is truly an expert on this topic.

CAFC Again Says Teva Induced Infringement on Carvedilol, Assures Holding Narrowly Applies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday underscored its October 2020 ruling that generic company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, was liable for induced infringement of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK’s) patent directed to a method of treating Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) using carvedilol. The court clarified, however, that its ruling should apply only narrowly to the facts of this particular case. Judge Prost again dissented.

Federal Circuit Weighs in on Proper Venue in Hatch-Waxman Cases Under TC Heartland

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit addressed a question of first impression regarding whether an act of patent infringement occurs in a Hatch-Waxman case “only when and where an ANDA-filer submits its ANDA to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] or occurs wherever future distribution of the generic is contemplated.” Valeant Pharmaceuticals v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals. The court ultimately determined the answer to be the former; however, in the case of a foreign defendant, venue is proper in any judicial district. The court ultimately determined the answer to be the former; however, in the case of a foreign defendant, venue is proper in any judicial district. It was the first time the court has had a chance to address the question of where infringement occurs in an ANDA case since TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Group Brands.

Panelists Urge Americans to Trust IP, Trust Vaccines, Listen to Science in COVID-19 Debate

IPWatchdog’s most recent webinar focused on the role of IP in the development of the most promising vaccines to combat COVID-19 and included speakers from the medical community, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the biopharmaceutical industry. The upshot was: wear masks, get the vaccine when it’s available to you, trust the FDA, and stop targeting IP rights, since there’s no evidence they have hindered the process and, in fact, IP has so far played a crucial role in collaboration efforts.

FDA Issues Request for Comments on Modernizing Patent Listings in the Orange Book

On June 1, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the agency was establishing a public docket for the receipt of public comments regarding the types of patent information published in the FDA’s Orange Book, a collection of FDA-approved drugs and their therapeutic equivalents designed to improve competition from generic drugmakers. While the request for comments only seeks early input on the subject, public responses could influence regulatory action that later changes the types of patents that a branded pharmaceutical manufacturer must disclose to inform generic drugmakers of their infringement liability risk.

Sanofi Decision Presents Opportunities to Clear the Patent Thicket for Generic Pharmaceuticals

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has made brand companies think twice about creating patent thickets in the Orange Book by resuscitating an antitrust suit against Sanofi by direct purchasers of insulin glargine. In re Lantus Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation (Feb. 2020). The Sanofi decision provides a possible opportunity to seek antitrust liability against brand companies for abusing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The decisions should make branded companies reconsider over-listing patents in the Orange Book, and potentially slowing down generic competition. While this decision sets the stage for further fights over what patents should not be listed as covering approved “drugs,” it also sets a clear test for courts to consider when evaluating other tactics that brands have used to create regulatory delays to stall approval of potential rival products.

We Won’t Stop Coronavirus Without IP

The recent White House meeting with leaders from American pharmaceutical companies sought their help in solving the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China and is currently gripping the globe. The meeting was part of the U.S. government marshaling our nation’s private and public medical research and development (R&D) resources in a race to create therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostic tools and cures. The Wall Street Journal has noted that “a core U.S. strength is the breadth of its private medical resources. That’s on display now as the government is calling on private actors to buttress the federal response.” Ironically, the same U.S. government urging the same private industry whose intellectual property rights enable it to develop medical miracles to help is targeting American pharmaceutical firms with a number of IP-killing policy proposals. One such bad idea comes from the Food & Drug Administration in a rulemaking titled “Importation of Prescription Drugs Proposed Rule (Docket No. FDA-2019-N-5711).”

Responding to Criticism of ‘State Pharmaceutical Importation Programs Threaten Patients and Innovation’

A recent article by Dr. Kristina M. L. Acri née Lybecker highlighted her research about the fiscal workability of state pharmaceutical importation programs from two important aspects. Dr. Acri’s whole paper is very good. I recommend you read it if you’re into policy and not sound bites. I noticed, however, that the comments on the article elicited some common myths about Canadian drug importation that are important to address if we’re going to really understand this issue.

Trusting Your Secrets to the Government

According to Merriam-Webster, the “Word of the Year for 2019 is “they” when used in the singular, typically to avoid ascribing a gender to the person being referred to. The larger point is this: language matters. Since this is a space dedicated to secrecy, let’s consider how we use language to determine who gets access to our trade secrets. For today, we’ll be looking specifically at how government does this. After all, they write the laws and so should be practiced at defining exceptions to property rights. Why should the government care at all about business secrets? Examples will help us here. Locally, the fire department needs to know what hazardous chemicals you might be storing at your plant, in case they have to come and put out a fire there. For different but equally compelling reasons, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insists on knowing exactly how drugs are made, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires submission of pesticide ingredients. And then there is the government as consumer: last year the U.S. spent over $550 billion on purchasing goods and services from the private sector, and with all that economic clout comes the right to demand access to a lot of related data.

Rare Diseases as A Strategic Springboard: Leveraging Orphan Drug Designations and Patent Protection for Increased Investment

Drug innovators are providing much needed focus on rare diseases and, at the same time, leveraging early-stage rare disease results to facilitate down-stream market entry in broad-spectrum diseases. This paper provides a data-based demonstration of how early- and mid-stage pharmaceutical companies are using the Orphan Drug Program—in combination with pursuing patent portfolio protection—to secure investment and de-risk their platforms, thus lowering the financial barrier for expanding their product pipeline. The Orphan Drug Program—which is available for drugs that treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 patients annually in the United States—provides a number of incentives that can lower the barrier for successfully getting a drug to market. For instance, due in part to the reduced size of clinical trials associated with rare diseases, gaining regulatory approval for treating rare diseases is widely perceived to be simpler and more cost-effective than gaining approval for broad-spectrum diseases. Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows a number of alternative clinical trial designs to meet approval standards, and orphan drugs are also more likely to qualify for expedited review and approval procedures. On top of this, orphan drugs are eligible for a 25% tax credit for clinical trial expenses (which can be claimed up to 20 years after receipt of the designation, and can in some instances be applied to offset payroll taxes), eligibility for research grants, waiver of FDA user fees, and a seven-year post-approval market exclusivity.

The Dark Side of Secrecy: What Theranos Can Teach Us About Trade Secrets, Regulation and Innovation

The spectacular failure of blood-testing firm Theranos is the subject of a riveting book, Bad Blood by investigative reporter John Carreyrou, and an engaging documentary, “The Inventor” on HBO, focusing on Elizabeth Holmes, the once-celebrated wunderkind who dropped out of Stanford at age 19 to “change the world” with a device that would perform hundreds of diagnostic tests with a few drops of blood from a finger stick. It’s a story made for Hollywood (Jennifer Lawrence will play Holmes in the forthcoming movie), filled with lies, deception, threats and sex, set in a Silicon Valley startup. But even the Theranos story doesn’t mean that trade secret law is inherently dangerous. Consider Apple, one of the world’s most secretive companies. (Holmes famously modeled her clothing and business habits after Steve Jobs.) Apple has consistently used NDAs and secrecy management to protect products under development, to great effect when they are ultimately unveiled, all without touting non-existent technology. And it’s easy to imagine how Theranos might never have happened if investors and business partners had been less credulous and more insistent to understand the technology.

Don’t Ignore the Flashing Caution Lights in the Drug Pricing Debate

Trying to rationally address hot button issues in an election year is always a dangerous proposition. That’s particularly true as we approach what promises to be one of the nastiest political years in history. Because so much time will be taken up campaigning, for legislation to pass it needs to get moving soon. It shouldn’t be long before we know whether anything meaningful will happen with attempts to reduce the costs of drugs, where intellectual property rights are in the crosshairs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that, if action is taken, it’s based on careful consideration of all the related issues rather than raw emotion. While this may be wishful thinking, several thoughtful new articles contain important warnings against jumping down some of the beckoning gopher holes. Critics of the Bayh-Dole Act, which provides the incentives of the patent ownership to commercialize federally funded inventions, claim that the government is developing drugs from its R&D and giving them to companies that then make “obscene profits.”Despite numerous rebuttals, this red herring is continually deployed as the justification for the government setting the price of drugs coming out of public/private sector partnerships.