Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP v. FDA, et al
AstraZeneca, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, appealed from the district court's grant of summary judgment. AstraZeneca sought declaratory judgment that the FDA could not approve generic versions of its Seroquel product and sought to restrain the FDA from approving abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) for such competing products until the expiration of a period of exclusivity. As a preliminary matter, the court determined that its decision would affect AstraZeneca's actual rights and the case was not moot. On the merits, the court concluded that AstraZeneca's claims failed because the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 301-99, only provided exclusivity for changes approved as part of a supplement. Because the FDA reasonably considered Table 2, a table summarizing previously submitted glucose data, as separate from the pediatric supplements, Table 2 was not a change approved in the supplement and therefore the statute did not entitle AstraZeneca to exclusivity for Table 2. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP v. FDA, et al" on Justia Law
Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. v. FDA
This case stemmed from Cytori's application to the FDA to market two new medical devices, the Celution 700 and the StemSource 900. Two devices that use adipose tissue as a source of stem cells that could later be used in lab analysis or, potentially, in regenerative medicine. The FDA concluded that the Celution and the StemSource were not substantially similar to devices on the market that extract stem cells from blood or bone marrow. Thus, the FDA ruled that Cytori must go through an extensive premarket approval process for new medical devices, rather than go through the streamlined premarket notification process for new devices that would be substantially equivalent to another device already on the market. Cytori appealed. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that it was the proper forum for direct review of the FDA's substantial equivalence determination. On the merits, the court concluded that the FDA reasonably concluded and reasonably explained, for purposes of the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., that the Celution and StemSource did not meet either the "intended use" requirement or the "technological characteristics" requirement for a substantial equivalence determination. View "Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. v. FDA" on Justia Law
Hill Dermaceuticals, Inc. v. FDA, et al
Hill filed a successful drug application with the FDA for a corticosteroid called "Derma-Smoothe." The FDA later approved three abbreviated new drug applications submitted by Identi for generic versions of Hill's products. Hill sued the FDA arguing that the FDA's approval of Identi's products was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq. The district court granted summary judgment to the FDA and Hill appealed. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to consider 21 extra-record declarations; Hill's arguments challenging the FDA's decision to grant bioequivalence waivers to Identi have no merit; and the court rejected Hill's argument that the FDA should not have approved Identi's drugs because Identi did not use the same labeling as Hill. Accordingly, the court held that the FDA's actions were not arbitrary and capricious, and affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment. View "Hill Dermaceuticals, Inc. v. FDA, et al" on Justia Law
Americans for Safe Access, et al v. DEA
The DEA, under the authority of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1)(B), classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the most restricted drug classification under the Act. Petitioners challenged the DEA's denial of its petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III, IV, or V drug. The principal issue on appeal was whether the DEA's decision was arbitrary and capricious. First, the court denied the Government's jurisdictional challenge because the court found that at least one of the named petitioners had standing to challenge the agency's action. On the merits, the court held that the DEA's denial of the rescheduling petition survived review under the deferential arbitrary and capricious standard where the petition asked the DEA to reclassify marijuana, which, under the terms of the Act, required a "currently accepted medical use." A "currently accepted medical use" required, inter alia, "adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy." The court deferred to the agency's interpretation of these regulations and found that substantial evidence supported the agency's determination that such studies did not exist. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Americans for Safe Access, et al v. DEA" on Justia Law
Coalition For Common Sense in Government Procurement v. United States, et al
Congress enacted section 703 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, 10 U.S.C. 1074g(f), which subjected all prescriptions purchased at retail pharmacies by service members to the same price caps as drugs procured directly by the Department of Defense. Pursuant to this provision, the Secretary of Defense issued a regulation requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to refund to the federal government the difference between the retail price and the price cap. The Coalition, a multi-industry interest group that represented pharmaceutical companies, filed suit challenging these actions. The court concluded that the Secretary reasonably interpreted section 703 to impose involuntary price caps and held that the statute itself imposed retroactive rebate liability on pharmaceutical manufacturers. View "Coalition For Common Sense in Government Procurement v. United States, et al" on Justia Law
Rollins v. Wackenhut Services, Inc., et al
Plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of wrongful death and survival actions she filed against her son's employer and two pharmaceutical companies. Plaintiff's son committed suicide using a gun provided by his employer while he was taking prescribed medication manufactured and distributed by the pharmaceutical companies. The court held that the district court did not err in ruling that plaintiff failed to state a claim of negligence against the employer when the district court invoked, sua sponte, District of Columbia law that suicide was an intervening and independent cause of death subject to limited exceptions that were inapplicable. The court declined to certify questions of negligence-liability to the D.C. Court of Appeals. The court also held that the district court did not err in ruling that the complaint failed to state a plausible claim of products liability against the pharmaceutical companies and in denying her leave to amend. View "Rollins v. Wackenhut Services, Inc., et al" on Justia Law
Sherley, et al. v. Sebelius, et al.
Appellants, researchers in the field of adult stem cells who oppose the use of federal funding for the development of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, filed a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Secretary's implementation of regulations allowing federal funding of such research. The court, applying Chevron analysis, held that the NIH had reasonably interpreted the Dickey-Wicker Amendment's ban on funding "research in which . . . embryos are destroyed" to allow federal funding of ESC research. Further, the preliminary-injunction exception was not applicable to the law-of-the-case preclusion. The court also held that the NIH's interpretation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment's actual language was reasonable and the NIH's decision to dismiss the comments categorically objecting to ESC was not arbitrary or capricious. Accordingly, the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the government. View "Sherley, et al. v. Sebelius, et al." on Justia Law
Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs, et al. v. Sebelius, et al.
Plaintiffs opposed the use of vaccines that contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, and believed that vaccines containing mercury harm young children and pregnant women. Plaintiffs filed an action alleging that the FDA, by allowing thimerosal-preserved vaccines, violated its statutory duty to ensure the safety of vaccines. Plaintiffs asked for a court order requiring the FDA to prohibit the administration of vaccines containing more than a trace level of thimerosal to young children and pregnant women and sought to force the FDA to remove thimerosal-preserved vaccines from the market. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of standing. The court concluded that plaintiffs were not required to receive thimerosal-preserved vaccines; they could readily obtain thimerosal-free vaccines; they did not have standing to challenge the FDA's decision to allow other people to receive the vaccines; and plaintiffs could advocate that the Legislative and Executive Branches ban the vaccines. But because plaintiffs were suffering no cognizable injury as a result of the FDA's decision to allow the vaccine, their lawsuit was not a proper subject for the Judiciary. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs, et al. v. Sebelius, et al." on Justia Law
James Sherley v. Kathleen Sebeliu
Plaintiffs, two scientists, brought a suit to enjoin the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") from funding research using human embryonic stem cells ("ESCs") pursuant to the NIH's 2009 Guidelines ("Guidelines"). At issue was whether the preliminary injunction was properly granted where the district court concluded that plaintiffs were likely to succeed in showing that the Guidelines violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, an appropriations rider that barred federal funding for research in which a human embryo was destroyed. The court vacated the preliminary injunction and held that plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail because Dickey-Wicker was ambiguous and the NIH seemed reasonably to have concluded that, although Dickey-Wicker barred funding for the destructive act of deriving an ESC from an embryo, it did not prohibit funding a research project in which an ESC would be used.