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Arla, a Denmark-based global dairy conglomerate, launched a $30 million advertising campaign aimed at expanding its U.S. cheese sales, branded “Live Unprocessed.” The ads assure consumers that Arla cheese contains no “weird stuff” or “ingredients that you can’t pronounce,” particularly, no milk from cows treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin (“rbST”), an artificial growth hormone. The flagship ad implies that milk from rbST-treated cows is unwholesome. Narrated by a seven-year-old girl, the ad depicts rbST as a cartoon monster with razor-sharp horns. Elanco makes the only FDA-approved rbST supplement. Elanco sued, alleging that the ads contain false and misleading statements in violation of the Lanham Act. Elanco provided scientific literature documenting rbST’s safety, and evidence that a major cheese producer had decreased its demand for rbST in response to the ads. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the issuance of a preliminary injunction, rejecting arguments that Elanco failed to produce consumer surveys or other reliable evidence of actual consumer confusion and did not submit adequate evidence linking the ad campaign to decreased demand for its rbST. Consumer surveys or other “hard” evidence of actual consumer confusion are unnecessary at the preliminary-injunction stage. The evidence of causation is sufficient at this stage: the harm is easily traced because Elanco manufactures the only FDA-approved rbST. The injunction is sufficiently definite and adequately supported by the record and the judge’s findings. View "Eli Lilly and Co. v. Arla Foods USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, “Class III” medical devices are those that support or sustain human life, that are of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, or that present a potential, unreasonable risk of illness or injury, 21 U.S.C. 360c(a)(1)(A), and must undergo scientific and regulatory review before they are marketed. Henson, a diabetic, sent the Food and Drug Administration requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking documents related to the premarket approval process for a glucose monitoring system, claiming to have observed deficiencies with his monitor. The agency produced documents. Henson was not satisfied with the response, so he sued. The agency reprocessed Henson’s requests and provided him with responsive documents totaling 8,000 pages plus a “Vaughn index,”listing each redacted or withheld document cross-referenced with the FOIA exemption that the FDA asserted was applicable. The FDA explained that it did not respond to all of Henson’s requests because the requested materials were either outside of the Act’s scope, duplicative of Henson’s other requests, or available on the agency’s website. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the rejection of Henson’s suit on summary judgment. The agency’s search for responsive documents and the application of exemptions were reasonable. View "Henson v. Department of Health and Human Services" on Justia Law

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Lipitor, a pharmaceutical drug, is prescribed to lower patients’ “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. Plaintiffs, more than 3,000 women, claim that they developed diabetes as a result of taking Lipitor. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the lawsuits for pretrial proceedings. The parties agreed on four bellwether cases. Plaintiffs enlisted general experts, to testify that there was a causal association between Lipitor and diabetes; specific experts, to testify that Lipitor proximately caused the onset of diabetes in the bellwether plaintiffs; and an expert biostatistician, who concluded that taking Lipitor led to a statistically significant increased risk of diabetes. Plaintiffs also sought to introduce internal Pfizer emails, information from Lipitor's labeling, a statement in Lipitor's FDA New Drug Application, and information from the Lipitor website. Citing Federal Rule of Evidence 702, the court excluded the opinions of the statistician; the general causation expert, except relating to a specific dosage; and the specific causation opinions. The rulings left the plaintiffs without their bellwether cases, limited to a subset of patients who had taken an 80 mg dose. The court issued show-cause orders asking whether any plaintiff could submit evidence that would enable her claim to survive summary judgment given prior rulings. Some plaintiffs submitted evidence showing only that they were not diabetic before taking Lipitor, that they were diagnosed with diabetes after taking Lipitor, and that they lacked certain risk factors that might make them especially likely to develop the disease. After the court rejected the evidence, the plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued that the cases ought to be returned to their transferor district courts for individual resolution on the issue of specific causation. The Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendants. View "Plaintiffs Appealing Case Management Order 100 v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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Dalton’s doctor implanted Teva’s Intrauterine Device (IUD) in her uterus for long-term birth control. Dalton became dissatisfied with the IUD and asked her doctor to remove it. The doctor did so by grasping its strings with a forceps and pulling the IUD down. A piece broke off either before or during the removal and lodged in her uterus. Dalton’s doctor advised that removing the remaining portion of the IUD would require a hysterectomy. Dalton sued Teva, asserting “strict liability,” “strict products liability failure to warn,” and “manufacturer’s defect.” Dalton failed to timely disclose any expert witness and serve the expert witness report required by FRCP 26(a)(2). The district court granted Teva summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Claims under the Indiana Products Liability Act, which governs all consumer actions against a manufacturer for physical harm caused by a product, require proof that the injury was proximately caused by whatever defect or breach of duty underlies the claim. The Act requires expert testimony when an issue “is not within the understanding of a lay person.” Dalton did not establish how a lay juror faced with a broken IUD could identify the cause of the break—maybe the IUD was damaged after coming into the possession of the physician, maybe human error resulted in damage during implantation or removal. This case is far removed from situations in which a causation issue is so obvious that a plaintiff may forgo expert testimony. View "Dalton v. Teva North America" on Justia Law

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The 551 patent discloses and claims lacosamide, the active ingredient in Vimpat®, a drug that treats epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders. UCB holds New Drug Applications that cover the FDA approval of Vimpat®. The 551 patent is listed in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products With Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Orange Book). Generic drug manufacturers filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs), seeking approval for generic versions of Vimpat®. Pursuant to the governing Hatch-Waxman Act provisions, they certified in their ANDAs that the 551 patent is invalid, unenforceable, or that their proposed generic lacosamide products will not infringe the patent. UCB sued and the generic manufacturers stipulated to infringement of claims 9, 10, and 13 but maintained that these claims are invalid for obviousness-type double patenting, 35 U.S.C. 101, obviousness, and anticipation. The district court concluded that the asserted claims are not invalid. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court applied the correct legal standards and that there was no clear error in its underlying fact findings. The district court did not err by focusing its double patenting analysis on the claims’ differences, as well as the claims as a whole. View "UCB, Inc. v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this product liability action, the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the claimant’s expert’s testimony regarding causation. Plaintiff brought this product liability action against Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. and Roche Laboratories, Inc. (collectively, Roche) alleging that she developed health issues as a result of ingesting Accutane, a pharmaceutical drug manufactured and distributed by Roche. After conducting a Daubert/Schafersman hearing, the district court entered an order precluding Plaintiff’s expert witness from rendering opinions on the general and specific causation of Plaintiff’s Crohn’s disease. Thereafter, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of Roche. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the expert testimony after finding that the expert’s methodology was unreliable and conclusion-driven; and (2) with the exclusion of this testimony, there remained no issue of material fact, and therefore, summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Roche. View "Freeman v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc." on Justia Law

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Mallinckrodt’s 112 patent is directed to methods of distributing nitric oxide gas cylinders for pharmaceutical applications. Inhaled nitric oxide is approved by the FDA for treating neonates with hypoxic respiratory failure, a condition where oxygen levels in the blood are too low. Nitric oxide functions to dilate blood vessels in the lungs and can thereby improve blood oxygenation. Mallinckrodt exclusively supplies inhaled nitric oxide in the United States for pharmaceutical use under the brand name INOmax®. On inter partes review, the Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board found claim 9 not unpatentable as obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103 but found claims1-8 and 10-11 unpatentable as obvious. The Federal Circuit reversed as to claim 9 but otherwise affirmed. The Board did not err in applying the printed matter doctrine to claims 1–8 and 10, but its findings regarding the differences between the prior art and claim 9 and its findings on secondary considerations depended on an incorrect interpretation of that claim, and are not supported by substantial evidence. The Board’s uncontested findings regarding prior art render claim 9 obvious under the proper reading of the claim. View "Praxair Distribution Inc. v. Mallinckrodt Hospital Products IP, Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Mass Litigation Panel through which summary judgment was granted in favor of Defendants, Pfizer, Inc., Roerig, a division of Pfizer, Inc., and Greenstone, LLC (collectively, Pfizer) on Plaintiffs’ claims that Pfizer negligently failed adequately to warn them of the risk of birth defects through the ingestion of Zoloft, a prescription medication, during pregnancy. The Court held (1) this was a case where expert testimony was necessary, and therefore, the Panel did not erroneously based its decision on the absence of expert testimony to support Plaintiffs’ claims that Pfizer failed adequately to warn women of childbearing age of the risks of Zoloft; (2) Petitioners could not sustain their evidentiary burden with Pfizer’s witnesses; and (3) there was no unfairness in requiring Plaintiffs to meet their burden of proof with expert testimony under the circumstances of this case. View "J.C. v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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Anacor’s patent, entitled “Boron-containing Small Molecules,” is directed to the use of 1,3-dihydro-5- fluoro-1-hydroxy-2, 1-benzoxaborole, also known as tavaborole, to topically treat fungal infections that develop under fingernails and toenails. The patent teaches that tavaborole can be used to treat onychomycosis, a fungal infection that is responsible for approximately half of all nail disorders in humans. On inter partes review, the Patent Board found all of the claims of the patent unpatentable for obviousness. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Anacor was not denied its procedural rights with respect to the theory of obviousness the Board adopted or any evidence it relied on. The Board understood that the petitioner’s theory was “not based on structural similarities alone,” but was “based on the combination of structural similarity and functional similarity” and agreed with the petitioner that “a person of ordinary skill in the art would have expected that tavaborole, which shares functional activity with the compounds of Brehove, would have shared other activities as well, such as the inhibition of additional fungi responsible for onychomycosis.” View "Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Iancu" on Justia Law

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There is no cause of action in West Virginia for failure to warn and negligent misrepresentation against a branded drug manufacturer when the drug ingested was produced by a generic manufacturer. Petitioners, Kimmy and Larry McNair, filed an action against Respondent, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging that Kimmy developed acute respiratory distress after ingestion the generic drug levofloxacin that was manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s Laboraties Limited. Janssen originally trademarked and sold levofloxacin under the brand Levaquin and produced the warnings on the label that accompanied the distribution of the drug, which were subsequently used by generic manufacturers of levofloxacin. The McNairs alleged that Janssen had exclusive control of the content of the warning for both the brand-name and generic forms of the drug and was therefore liable for their alleged injuries. The federal district court granted summary judgment to Janssen, finding that because Janssen did not manufacture the product ingested by Kimmy, there was no basis on which to hold Janssen liable. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals certified to the Supreme Court a question of law. In answering as set forth above, the Supreme Court declined to expand its products liability law. View "McNair v. Johnson & Johnson" on Justia Law