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Software developers are racing to develop health care products that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning and deep learning. Examples include software that analyzes radiology images and pathology slides to help physicians diagnose disease, electronic health records software that automates routine tasks, and software that analyzes genetic information to support targeted treatment. The one thing that all of these products have in common is a need to interact, in some way, with real world medical data. However, this real world data can be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) as well as a patchwork of federal and state laws and regulations. Below we discuss the contexts in which developers may encounter these laws, as well as strategies to navigate related legal issues.
Viewpoint General
For much of the past 18 months, the Trump Administration, and in particular CMS, have talked a good game regarding reducing pharmaceutical prices. On October 16, 2018, a key component of the Administration’s strategy was revealed in the form of CMS’ Proposed Rule requiring manufactures to include the “list price” for prescription drugs reimbursable by Medicaid or Medicare in television advertisements. While I do think that there will be new initiatives to address drug pricing, I believe most will come through the state and not the federal level. This post addresses six potential initiatives from a recently released report of the National Governors' Association.
Viewpoint General
On October 18, 2018, FDA released a new draft guidance, Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices, which describes the Agency’s current thinking and recommendations on designing medical device software with adequate cybersecurity controls.  Once finalized, the draft guidance will supersede a final guidance of the same name issued in 2014.
Viewpoint General
Artificial intelligence—AI—is the future of everything. But when patient health is on the line, can we trust algorithms to make decisions instead of patients or their health care providers? This post, the second in our blog series about AI in health care, explores FDA’s proposed regulatory model that is supposed to be better suited for AI (and similar technologies) while still protecting patients.
Viewpoint General
In the first new guidance document from FDA in several years specific to the subject of direct-to-consumer (DTC) promotion of prescription drugs and biological products, the Agency is recommending that companies take additional steps to ensure that quantitative efficacy or risk information does not convey inaccurate information and does not have the potential to confuse consumers. The draft guidance defines quantitative efficacy and risk information as “information that numerically addresses the likelihood or magnitude of a drug’s effectiveness or risks.” FDA’s advice on how to most clearly share this type of information should be considered by companies when developing any form of DTC promotional media, whether they are digital, broadcast, in traditional print format, or otherwise.
Viewpoint General

Trump Administration Proposes Requiring Disclosure of Drug Prices in TV Ads

October 17, 2018 | Blog | By Lauren Moldawer, Theresa Carnegie

The Trump Administration is moving full speed ahead with its proposals under the Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices (the “Blueprint”). Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a proposed rule that would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose the list price of their pharmaceutical products in direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) television ads (the “Proposed Rule”).
Viewpoint General
The Journal of the American Medical Association in its September 18, 2018, issue included four articles on deep learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In one of several viewpoint pieces, On the Prospects for a (Deep) Learning Health Care System, the author’s conclusions aptly describes why health care providers, entrepreneurs, investors and even regulators are so enthusiastic about the use of AI in health care.
Viewpoint General
As in any technology area, it is important to consider patent protection early in the development of an AI-related invention. However, AI inventions raise a number of particular issues that, if not addressed fully or at the right time, could be fatal to securing U.S. patent protection that would otherwise be available to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention. This article identifies common pitfalls in getting a patent for AI inventions and provides insights on how to avoid them. These principles apply not only to AI-related inventions, but also to digital health inventions more broadly.
Viewpoint General
Drug and device manufacturers will need to update their reporting systems and provide new training to their sales staff in the coming years based on changes to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act included in the final opioid package passed last week. Beginning with data reported in 2022, the Sunshine Act will cover payments made to advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The change will also impact state laws requiring the reporting of payments made to these provider types, which will be preempted by federal law.
Viewpoint General

ML Strategies Weekly Health Care Preview - Week of September 24th

September 24, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

This week, Congress and the White House need to finalize a government spending bill in order to avoid a shutdown. While all signs point to a deal being reached, it is widely expected that several agencies will be operating on a continuing resolution for the first couple months of fiscal year 2019. While the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education are expected to receive a full appropriation prior to September 30th, the FDA, which is funded through the Department of Agriculture, is expected to be funded through the continuing resolution, which will go through December 7th.
Viewpoint General

FDA Introducing a Variety of Programs to Help Medical Devices Get to Market

September 13, 2018 | Blog | By Benjamin Zegarelli

Over the past couple of years, FDA has introduced multiple programs allowing faster review of medical devices in order to get them to market more quickly. Some of the FDA’s efforts have been highly visible, such as the Breakthrough Devices program in the 21st Century Cures Act and the Software Precertification pilot program in the FDA’s Digital Health Innovation Action Plan. Others have been less trumpeted but are still significant developments for device manufacturers.

Biosimilars Action Plan Update: Public Hearing Scheduled

July 24, 2018 | Blog | By Joanne Hawana

As an immediate follow-up to last week’s release of the FDA’s Biosimilars Action Plan, the Agency is announcing a public hearing for September 4, 2018 to gather stakeholder input on “FDA’s approach to enhancing competition and innovation in the biological products marketplace, including by facilitating greater availability of biosimilar and interchangeable products.”
In May, the Trump Administration announced its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and HHS Secretary Azar issued a Request for Information seeking comments from interested parties “to help shape future policy development and agency action” related to drug pricing issues.
In the time since the Federal Circuit issued its Vanda Pharma decision in April, Vanda Pharm. Inc. v West-Ward Pharm. Intl. Ltd. 887 F.3d 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2018), we have had more good news for the patent eligibility of claims relating to diagnostic or similar tests utilized in treating patients.
In a highly anticipated step, which had been teased by agency leadership in their public appearances over the past several months, FDA released a series of draft guidance documents pertaining to the development and approval of gene therapy products on July 11, 2018.
Recently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement that it had intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case against Insys Therapeutics, Inc. and consolidated five separate qui tam cases into one case, U.S. ex rel Guzman v. Insys Therapeutics, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
On Wednesday May 9th, I was floored when the Administration released the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which contained this nugget: by December 2018, HRSA will publish its 340B Omnibus Guidance. Readers of our blog know that, as we predicted, this so-called Mega-Guidance was withdrawn in January 2017 without ever seeing the light of day.

President Trump Delivers Much Anticipated Drug Pricing Speech

May 14, 2018 | Blog | By Susan Berson, Theresa Carnegie, Tara E. Dwyer

On Friday, after weeks of delay, the President finally delivered his Drug Pricing Speech and released the HHS Blueprint detailing the Trump Administration's plan to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs.
On Tuesday, May 8th, the House held three hearings related to combating the opioid epidemic. The first hearing came out of the Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which examined opioid distribution and diversion by the pharmaceutical industry.

Personalized Medicine Gets a Boost from Federal Circuit’s Vanda Pharma Decision – PART II: Enforcement

May 1, 2018 | Advisory | By Muriel M. Liberto, PhD, Esq., Jennifer Dereka

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Vanda Pharm. Inc. v West-Ward Pharm. Intl. Ltd. (2016-2707, 2016-2708 April 13, 2018) provided some good news on the subject matter eligibility front for innovators and other stakeholders in the personalized medicine space, as discussed in a previous post.
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