News & Analysis as of

Is Off-Label Drug Promotion Protected Free Speech?

It is a very common practice. Drug sales reps visit a client, usually a hospital, a clinic or a doctor, with the sole purpose of selling a drug or medical device. That is the primary way a doctor learns about a drug or...more

FDA Promises Guidance on Lawful Off-Label Promotion

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") announced that by the end of the year, the agency would issue a draft guidance document addressing the contours of lawful and unlawful off-label promotion. The...more

Lawsuit Against Medtronic Alleges Racketeering Over Infuse Bone Graft

When one big industry sues another we learn a lot about how business as usual is conducted. In this case Humana, a giant health insurer, has sued the medical device company Medtronic, maker of the Infuse bone graft. ...more

GlaxoSmithKline Fined Again – The Cost of Doing Business?

It is seen as the cost of doing business. It may be illegal, but is also highly profitable, so why stop? That seems to be the attitude of many pharmaceutical companies – and the latest proof of that comes in the form...more

Court enforces False Claims Act’s first-to-file rule to bar complaint alleging details of off-label promotion scheme about which...

In Brief - When an alleged scheme to market drugs for unapproved “off-label” uses had already been identified by an earlier complaint, a later complaint providing additional details, but alleging the same “essential...more

Federal Court Invalidates 340b Orphan Drug Regulation

Last Friday a federal district court invalidated a regulation that had authorized the 340B discount for critical access hospitals, sole community hospitals, rural referral centers and free-standing cancer hospitals when they...more

False Claims Act Litigation Update: Bayer Decision Sheds Light on Pleading in False Claims Act Cases

A recent win for a large company in a False Claims Act suit (a seeming rarity as of late) alleging illegal off-label promotion could provide some helpful insight to similarly situated manufacturers and support dismissals of...more

Biotech Company to Pay over $22 Million for Marketing Off-Label Use of Products

Two whistleblowers used the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA) to file lawsuits against biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. for teaching doctors and other medical staff how to create a "slurry" version of its...more

’Orphan drug’ rule raises off-label worries for drugmakers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week clarified when hospitals are allowed to buy socalled orphan drugs at sharply discounted prices, but it left open questions for drug manufacturers about the risk of...more

Is Filling an Off-Label Prescription an Invitation to False Claims Act Liability?

On May 17, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued an order that joins an unsettling line of decisions suggesting that before filling prescriptions, pharmacies must serve as the arbiters of...more

Business Litigation Report -- April 2013

In This Issue: - Firm News: DoJ Star Healthcare Fraud Prosecutor Joins Washington, D.C. Office; and Quinn Emanuel Wins Top Honors at the Inaugural U.S. Benchmark Annual Awards - Main...more

Two New Developments in First Amendment Challenges to Off-Label Promotion: What's Next?

Following the Second Circuit’s marquee First Amendment ruling in the Caronia case, two recent developments demonstrate a shift in the battleground for First Amendment challenges to the prohibition on off-label promotion under...more

Appeals Court Rejects Drug Company Executive’s First Amendment Defense and Upholds Wire Fraud Conviction

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a recent unpublished opinion, upheld the conviction and sentencing of former InterMune, Inc. executive Scott Harkonen for wire fraud. In 2009, a jury...more

Ninth Circuit Affirms Prosecution for Off-label Marketing

Over the past two years, courts began to recognize that at least some off-label marketing is protected lawful commercial speech under the First Amendment. Specifically, the Second Circuit in New York in a case called United...more

Ninth Circuit Affirms Conviction in Harkonen, Rejects the Defendant’s “Off-Label” First Amendment Challenge

On March 4, 2013, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in United States v. Harkonen,1 a case in which the CEO of a pharmaceutical company was prosecuted for transmitting...more

Second Circuit Vacates Pharmaceutical Misbranding Conviction on Free Speech Grounds

After two years of deliberation, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has finally issued its decision in United States v. Caronia, holding that the government cannot prosecute pharmaceutical manufacturers or their...more

Second Circuit Declares Off-Label Promotion Ban Unconstitutional: Implications for False Claims Act Defendants

On December 3, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the First Amendment protects pharmaceutical companies who truthfully promote the lawful, off-label use of prescription drugs from...more

Second Circuit Vacates Off-Label Promotion Conviction on First Amendment Grounds in U.S. v. Caronia

On December 3, 2012, a panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the November 2009 conviction of Alfred Caronia for conspiracy to introduce a misbranded drug into interstate commerce...more

Off-Label Marketing Questioned as a Viable Criminal Theory – But Stay Tuned

On December 3, 2012, a divided Second Circuit held in United States v. Caronia (“Caronia”) that the misbranding provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) do not criminalize “the truthful off-label...more

Second Circuit Rules That Certain Speech Regarding the Off-Label Use of Drugs Is Protected Under the U.S. Constitution

In a long-awaited decision, on December 3, 2012, a divided panel (2–1) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the conviction of Alfred Caronia, a former pharmaceutical sales representative for Jazz...more

Second Circuit Rules that Pharma Rep's Promotion of Drug for Off-Label Use is Protected Speech

The Second Circuit's December 3, 2012 decision in United States v. Caronia, No. 09-5006-CR, could cause a sea change in the growing number of prosecutions brought by the government to prevent the off-label promotion of drugs...more

Does Misdemeanor Misbranding Survive Caronia?

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sent shockwaves through the pharmaceutical industry with its decision in United States v. Caronia. Alfred Caronia was a pharmaceutical sales representative convicted of a...more

Court’s Ruling about Off-Label Drug Promotion Defies Reason

Last week a federal appeals court made a ruling that chips away at a fundamental aspect of the FDA's gatekeeping function with new drugs. The court tossed a conviction of a drug sales representative who was promoting drugs...more

Second Circuit Holds that Criminal Penalties for Pharmaceutical Sales Representative’s Off-Label Promotion Violate the First...

On December 3, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion that stands to transform the regulatory landscape in which pharmaceutical and medical device companies operate. In recent...more

Second Circuit Holds Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act Does Not Prohibit Off-Label Promotion

In a significant blow to the U.S. government’s enforcement efforts against the pharmaceutical industry, a panel of the Second Circuit overturned the conviction of a pharmaceutical sales representative for conspiracy to...more

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