By the time the COVID-19 pandemic began, society was well into the so-called “Digital Age,” relying heavily on electronic communications, apps, websites, and the like to go about daily activities. Everything from ordering food to taking the bus to work could be achieved and tracked through a simple app. During the pandemic, the reliance on electronic mediums went from preferable to necessary, as many businesses shut down and transitioned to a remote or online-only presence.
The escalation of the digital age has led some manufacturers to consider electronic warnings for their products, through the manufacturer’s website, by providing a QR code, or by recommending (or requiring) the consumer to download an app. Even the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has bought into digital warnings. ANSI’s Z535 standards provide guidance for product manufacturers related to the size, content, and location of warnings. Recently, ANSI created a subcommittee on warnings in electronic media and is in the process of developing a new standard, ANSI Z535.7, for safety information in electronic media. This new standard is expected to be published by December 2022. The FDA has also recently utilized electronic means to communicate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. In October 2021, the FDA published three Consumer Fact Sheets for the three currently authorized vaccines on its website and included a QR Code linked to the “most recent” COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheets.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “Act”), signed into law on November 15, 2021, has been followed closely by the transportation sector. One section of the Act has the potential to impact the landscape of automotive products liability litigation.
Section 24220 requires automobile manufacturers to equip new passenger vehicles with advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pub. L. No. 117-58, § 24220, 135 Stat. 429, 831-833 (2021).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance titled Data Standards for Drug and Biological Product Submissions Containing Real-World Data on October 21, 2021. The guidance provides the Agency’s thoughts on how sponsors can comply with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) when submitting “certain” applications that contain study data derived from real-world data (RWD) sources. The FDA acknowledges that its current study data standards do not necessarily reflect a process derived from RWD sources. However, sponsors will need to convert RWD into established study data standards when submitting this information as part of a regulatory application (a process called “mapping”).
For context, study data standards are documented guidelines to help with the exchange of clinical and nonclinical study data between computer systems. They are used to provide a consistent framework for organizing study data (such as templates for datasets, standard names for variables, how to do calculations with common variables, and so on).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft guidance for pharmaceutical companies, sponsors, and researchers sourcing Real World Data (RWD) from health records. As the FDA’s first attempt to define guidelines on sourcing RWD, the draft document provides insight into the FDA’s current thinking on the approach that companies should use to support regulatory filings for medications.
The guidance references the Framework for Real World Evidence Program, released in December 2018. The Framework is designed to regulate uses of RWD and Real Word Evidence (RWE), which are used by life sciences companies to investigate how medicines perform beyond clinical trials, and to back up clinical trial results. This draft guidance is the first of the series that have been promised by the FDA to develop the Framework. More information about the FDA Framework can be found on our blog here.
On October 12, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued orders granting R.J. Reynolds (RJR) Vapor Company approval to market three of its electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products – the Vuse Solo ENDS e-cigarette and accompanying tobacco-flavored pods. In issuing the orders, FDA found “that the marketing of these products is appropriate for the protection of public health.” However, FDA also stated that its orders do not mean “these products are safe or ‘FDA approved.’” See FDA Permits Marketing of E-Cigarette Products, Marking First Authorization of Its Kind by the Agency | FDA.
Although ENDS products, such as e-cigarettes, have been on the market since the mid-2000s, this is the first time FDA has authorized the marketing of specific ENDS products through the Premarket Tobacco Product Application pathway.
The FDA issued a final rule (RIN 0910-A147) on August 2, 2021, to clarify its “intended use” regulations for pharmaceutical products and medical devices — 21 CFR §201.128 (drugs) and 21 CFR §801.4 (devices). The final rule will go into effect on September 1, 2021.
The new rule may provide an end to a years-long process on knowledge-based labeling directives in the old regulations. Proposed amendments to clarify the “intended use” regulations began in 2015, which we discussed previously.