Food Additive Approvals — and Patents

I spend a lot of time thinking about the intersection of FDA regulation and intellectual property, and I have been constructing a large dataset relating to the patents claiming different types of FDA-regulated products.  Recently, I have also been thinking a great deal about the regulation of food (because Mizzou is now allowing me to teach Food Law & Policy, in addition to Drug & Device Law).  These two areas of interest intersected this past week, giving me some modest insights into premarket review of food additives and some very modest data to contribute to discussions about the (in?)efficiency of FDA’s food additive review process.

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Hatch-Waxman Comments – Status Report (Part II)

Last week I summarized some of the recommendations for FDA in the first 67 comments to the Hatch-Waxman docket that opened in July.  Today’s entry discusses the recommendations that relate to use and distribution restrictions, citizen petitions, and what some call “product hopping.”

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Hatch-Waxman Comments – Status Report (Part I)

What are people recommending that FDA do, to improve the current balance between drug innovation and access to generic drugs?  The docket isn’t closed yet, but I’ve read the first 67 comments. . . .

Background

FDA held a public meeting in July to consider the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, asking for comment concerning its administration of the amendments “to help ensure the intended balance between encouraging innovation in drug development and accelerating the availability to the public of lower cost alternatives to innovator drugs is maintained.”  It also opened a docket for written comments, which was originally slated to close on September 18.  On September 19, it extended the date for submission of comments to November 17.   What follows is a high level overview of some of the main recommendations for FDA in the first 67 comments.

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Data Exclusivity for Medical Devices

Data exclusivity for drugs and biological products gets all the attention.  (In fact, recently I read a law review article asserting that medical devices are not entitled to any sort of exclusivity period after approval.  But this is wrong!)  It is apparently not as well known, but sponsors of premarket approval applications (PMAs) enjoy six years of data exclusivity.  Folks interested in FDA and innovation policy should know about the device scheme because it has a unique history (with a novel and clever – though unworkable – approach in place for seven years) and because at a high level it is still analogous to drug and biologic exclusivity even though the regulatory paradigms are different.

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