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The News in Depth

Congressional Investigation into J&J Recall Actions Widens to Include Contractors

Contract firms identified as helping Johnson & Johnson with what House Oversight committee chair Edolphus Towns (D-NY) has referred to as a “phantom recall” have now received letters from the committee from asking them to detail their roles in the action....

House Committee Chair Towns Asks J&J’s CEO for Detailed Information on McNeil Recall Actions

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chair Edolphus Towns (D-NY) has sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) CEO William Weldon requesting additional specific information on a market action taken regarding one of its Motrin products last year. Information requested on what Towns terms a “phantom recall” includes the names of J&J employees who were involved in making the decision to pursue this action, names of the contractors involved, and all records related to the action....

FDA Proposing More Transparency on Inspection Findings, Recalls, and Drug Filings

An FDA task force released on May 19 a set of transparency principles for public comment which propose to change what GMP and CMC documents and information are available to the public and with what timing. The proposals include making more information available more rapidly regarding GMP inspections, enforcement activities, and investigational, marketing and supplemental filings....

House Committee Hears from J&J and FDA on McNeil’s Recall and Compliance Problems

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform brought Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and FDA to the table on May 27 to take a hard look at J&J’s recent recall and GMP compliance problems. In focus at the Congressional hearing were J&J’s actions – including what was referred to by the committee as a “phantom recall” – FDA inspection findings, and possible further GMP and criminal investigations....

Teva Discontinues Propofol in the Wake of FDA GMP Concerns and Lawsuit Verdict

In the wake of GMP concerns resulting in an FDA warning letter and recall, and a clinical practice-related lawsuit verdict involving heavy punitive damages, Teva announced on May 28 that it will discontinue manufacturing its generic injectable emulsion version of the sedative propofol....

Genzyme Consent Decree Results in $175 Million Fine, Drug Shortages Will Continue

Genzyme’s consent decree for GMP violations at its Allston, Massachucetts plant will require it to pay a $175 million “disgorgement fee” and bring the plant back into compliance with applicable regulations within a specified time frame, during which time shortages of several of its drugs will continue. The consent decree was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on May 24, 2010, and is subject to court approval....

European Trade Associations Step Up to the Plate on Drug Counterfeiting

Two trade associations in Europe, through separate but related efforts, are advancing the dialogue on preventing counterfeit medicines from entering the legitimate drug supply chain: one by publishing a set of guiding principles to call attention to the issue; the other by successfully executing a pilot program on security of drug products in the supply chain....

Protecting the Public Health Trumps Explicit Legislative Mandate, FDA’s Chief Counsel Tells FDLI

FDA’s mandate to protect the public health requires making decisions in situations where there is no law explicitly empowering it to act, FDA Chief Counsel Ralph Tyler stressed at the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) Annual Meeting in late April. In turn, Tyler explained that a key role for FDA lawyers is to be advocates for the agency in helping it reach its policy and enforcement goals in situations where waiting for approval from Congress does not allow a timely enough decision....

FDA to Partner with State Agencies on Recalls and Regulatory Actions

FDA is developing national procedures for engaging state agencies in the follow-up to recalls and moving toward partnerships with state agencies to allow the use of state data to support other regulatory actions....

EMA Updates Facility Inspection Procedures to Align with EU GMP Guide Revisions

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has updated its GMP facility inspection procedures to align with recent revisions to its EU GMP Guide reflective of ICH Q8-10 principles....
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