US FDA Loses Orphan Exclusivity Case While HHS Wins Dismissal Of Pfizer Kickback Complaint
In rare loss for FDA, appeals court reverses district court decision tossing Catalyst’s suit over Orphan Drug Act, saying deference should not have been granted to agency’s interpretation. District court finds it is too early to rule on one Pfizer charity co-pay program but backs broad reading of Anti-Kickback Statute.
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US FDA will continue to tie orphan exclusivity to uses or indications for which the drug was approved. Attorneys say this buys agency time to sort out complex policy and legal questions and continue to seek legislative fix. Additional litigation is also possible, as happened in Depomed case.
DC Circuit Court upholds FDA’s grant of new chemical entity exclusivity to Sanofi’s multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio (teriflunomide) even though the agency had previously approved teriflunomide as an impurity in Sanofi’s Arava (leflunomide). FDA reviews known impurities in drugs only to assess their impact on safety and efficacy, not to approve them, court says.
FDA didn’t get policy rider it wanted which would have reversed the Catalyst court ruling that the agency cannot limit a drug’s orphan exclusivity to its approved indication. One attorney says the clearest path forward is for FDA to issue new rulemaking and face additional litigation.