This post was also written by James M. Wood.
On January 13, 2009, eleven months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance document, and 2 1/2 years after the sunset of the statute intended to permit the dissemination of medical literature about unapproved uses of drugs and medical devices, the FDA issued a final guideline for such dissemination. Often referred to as “the distribution of off-label use journal articles,” FDA’s final guidance is aptly named “Guidance For Industry: Good Reprint Practices for the Distribution of Medical Journal Articles and Medical Scientific Reference Publications on Unapproved New Uses of Approved Drugs and Approved or Cleared Medical Devices.”
As with the 2008 draft guidance, the final version begins by succinctly discussing the historical attempts to regulate the distribution of literature about unapproved uses, including noting the need to balance the law’s prohibition on distributing or promoting “unapproved uses of approved drugs and approved or cleared medical devices” with the “important public policy” of providing information that “may even constitute a medically recognized standard of care.” FDA concludes that the touchstone for lawful dissemination of literature about unapproved uses is that the publications “are truthful and non-misleading.”
To meet this standard, the FDA final guidance lists “principles of Good Reprint Practices” that include criteria for determining the type of publication, and the manner in which the publication can be distributed. Although the final guidance closely tracks the draft guidance, it has some important clarifications.
Click here to read the full alert, which highlights these clarifications and provides an overview of the final guidance.