News & Analysis as of

Notes From The Off-Label Underground

Keeping track of litigation over off-label use/promotion frequently sends us off on tangents. We’ve wandered into abortion cases, securities law cases, criminal cases – even cases brought by criminals....more

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

As of March 3, Solvay Pharmaceuticals is ready to second P.T. Barnum’s famous dictum that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. That’s the day a federal court in Texas dismissed a qui tam action against Solvay....more

Free Speech & Pharmaceutical Promotion — U.S. ex rel. Solis v. Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Off-label prescription drug use — using drugs to treat ailments not indicated on FDA-approved labeling — is among the thorniest legal issues facing the pharmaceutical sector. On one hand, off-label prescriptions are lawful...more

False Claims Act – 2014 Year in Review

The False Claims Act (FCA) imposes liability on individuals and companies who defraud or submit false claims to the federal government. The FCA allows the federal government to seek treble damages, civil penalties and...more

2014 Year in Review: OPDP Warning and Untitled Letters

In 2014, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s (CDER) Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) issued a total of 10 enforcement letters to pharmaceutical manufacturers. Of the 10 letters, nine were Untitled...more

"Insights Conversations: Life Sciences"

A healthy market for M&A activity, particularly cross-border deals, and a strict regulatory environment are the big factors influencing the health and activities of life sciences companies. Skadden partners John T....more

The New Promotional Rules: “There Are No New Promotional Rules”

There is resounding evidence that physicians and patients rely on the Internet—including social medial platforms—to research and communicate health information. FDA, however, has been slow to adapt even though the potential...more

Court Rejects Workers Comp Insurer’s Challenge to Big Pharma

Pharmaceutical manufacturers that promote off-label uses for prescription drugs have become litigation targets for third-party payors—especially after Kaiser received a nine-figure RICO award last year against the...more

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

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

Stay Off My Turf! How to Protect Field of Use in a Biotechnology License Agreement

To protect a licensor’s rights, a key element of a biotech license is the licensor’s right to restrict the scope of the license by limiting the field of use, often to a particular disease area. But the license agreement only...more

Unsealed Qui Tams Show That Government Declination is Not Always the End

Mintz Levin’s most recent Qui Tam Update authored by our Health Care Enforcement Defense Practice provides focused analysis of four health care-related qui tam cases in which the government declined to intervene, including...more

Mintz Levin Health Care Qui Tam Update - Recent Developments & Unsealed Cases

Trends and Analysis: ..We have identified 21 health care–related qui tam cases unsealed since last month’s Qui Tam Update. Of those, two were filed in 2013, 15 were filed in 2011 or 2012, and four were filed in 2010 or...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

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

The First Amendment and Off-Label Promotion: United States v. Caronia

For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has aggressively pursued and brought charges over “off-label promotions”—the promotion of drugs for uses that have not received FDA approval—by pharmaceutical manufacturers and their...more

Court Upholds Executive’s Conviction Stemming from Off-Label Drug Promotion

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the wire fraud and misbranding convictions and sentence of InterMune Inc. founder W. Scott Harkonen. United States v. Harkonen, No. 11-10209 (9th Cir. March 4, 2013)....more

Dechert Survey of Securities Fraud Class Actions Brought Against U.S. Life Sciences Companies

Publicly Traded Life Sciences Companies in the United States Remain an Increasingly Popular Target of Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuits: The past year was particularly noteworthy with respect to the absolute and...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 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

Ninth Circuit Off-Label Marketing Decision Suggests More Prosecutions Will Be Coming

The Ninth Circuit has reopened a door for off-label marketing prosecutions, and it is important to review your compliance and risk management programs in light of this recent decision. Last December, the pharmaceutical and...more

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