Two Federal Register notices that will both publish on November 27, 2013, extend the comment period for 14 days on two separate Draft Guidance documents, due to technical problems that occurred on the Regulations.gov website that made it impossible for some commenters to make electronic submissions to the respective Dockets from November 4-13, 2013.
While Dr. Janet Woodcock, Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and Dr. Kathleen Uhl, Acting Director, Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) are kicking around ideas about early communications of deficiencies and potential approvals to firms, the message that OGD is clamping down on phone calls and emails is being heard by Industry loud and clear.
It may be almost too late to assure that the culture of generic companies can change to meet the new more demanding standards and requirements that the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA) indirectly imposes. But if now is almost too late, tomorrow is for sure!
I am stealing a quintessential line from the movie “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”, to explain the emergent nature of the FDA’s proposed revision to its labeling rule to permit unilateral changes in safety information for certain applications for which the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) clearly precludes such changes. So those of you in industry you have a choice – either raise your voices and raise them loudly, or contact your liability carriers and raise your limits and secure good defense counsel.
Speaking at the GPhA Fall Technical Workshop on October 30, 2013, Dr. Kathleen Uhl, Acting Director of the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) provided a first look at the structure of the new OGD Super Office. There are a number of new organizational blocks that signal to this old former OGDer that not only more changes are on the way, but that emphasis on certain pre- and post-approval issues are going to be beefed up considerably.
In a passionate presentation before a packed GPhA audience that left some teary-eyed, Dr. Uhl the Acting Director of the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD), whose nickname we learned is “Cook”, outlined her strategy for achieving the demanding goals of GDUFA on time.
Kiran Krishnan (Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Apotex) presented an overview of the new stability requirements and the implications on the Generic Industry.
At the Generic Pharmaceutical Association’s Fall Technical Conference on October 29, 2013, speakers from the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) provided a glimpse into the review accomplishments for the first year since GDUFA was passed, and as to how OGD will change its process to assure timely OGD review.
Janet Woodcock, M.D., Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) noted that her vision of the reorganization for the Center is to have “one voice for quality across all drug products including biotech.” She also indicated that while this has been a need of CDER for a while, she gave GDUFA credit as a major driver of this current effort.
Speaking at the Pre-Meeting Project Manager Workshop, OGD staff reminded participants of the fact that in year 1 and 2 of GDUFA, there are no real metrics, and reviewed the GDUFA goals for years 3-5 of the five year program. Along with this reminder, OGD GDUFA Implementation Team Member Christina Kirby noted that all amendment goals are incremental, meaning that pre-FDA Action Amendments results in an adjustment of goal date and post-FDA Action Letter submissions sets a new goal date.
On October 24, 2013 the FDA announced its intent to recommend to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that Hydrocodone-containing combination products be rescheduled into the more restrictive Schedule II. Such a move will make it more difficult for patients to obtain the products, as well as for healthcare practitioners to prescribe these products.
Not that it is a big surprise to current users (at least we hope not), but the FDA announced on October 23, 2013 that they were completing the phase-out of all medical inhalation products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by December 31, 2013.
In a recent enforcement action against a dietary supplement manufacturer James G. Cole Inc. (here), the FDA is seeking a Permanent Injunction based on repeated violations of cGMPs and distribution of unapproved drugs. This type of “health fraud” dates back to the days of the traveling medicine men in their covered wagons selling dangerous concoctions of different herbs and drugs and making all kinds of wild health claims for products like Doctor Feel Good Elixir.
On October 11, 2013, the FDA made history by approving Nasacort Allergy 24H, an over-the-counter (OTC) version of the Rx Nasacort AQ (triamcinolone acetonide), a nasally inhaled glucocorticoid for allergy relief.
On October 3, 2012, the FDA announced its finding that the Impax Bupropion Extended-Release Tablets, 300mg, distributed by Teva, was found to be bio-inequivalent to the reference listed drug (RLD) Welbutrin XL 300 mg Tablets. The firms withdrew their product from the market.
A little over a year later, on October 10, 2013, FDA announced the results of the bioequivalence studies required by four additional companies, Actavis, Mylan, Par Pharmaceuticals, and Watson conducted to confirm a finding of bioequivalence of their approved 300 mg Bupropion Extended-Release Tablets. The studies submitted by Actavis, Mylan, and Par Pharmaceuticals confirmed that their products are bioequivalent to Welbutrin XL 300 mg Tablets. However, the study performed by Watson failed to confirm bioequivalence to the RLD, and the firm has agreed to voluntarily withdraw its product from the distribution chain