Joanne counsels global clients on regulatory and distribution-related considerations to bringing a new FDA-regulated product to market and how to ensure continued compliance after a product is commercialized. She also advises on the business impact of new US federal and state actions that affect those regulated products, such as drugs, foods, cosmetics, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and medical devices, including in vitro diagnostics, lab tests, and mobile medical applications. In recent years she has been advising clients in different industries regarding FDA’s approaches to precision medicine and the impact of the agency’s policies on product development and marketing plans.
Her strategic counseling and compliance support work reaches into all aspects of FDA-regulated companies’ operations, including:
- Determining regulatory status of novel products like mobile health systems and point-of-care diagnostics;
- Pre-market and post-market requirements for various regulated products;
- Restrictions on advertising and sampling, including for controlled substances;
- State licensing schemes for prescription drug manufacturers and distributors;
- Federal track-and-trace obligations for all members of the prescription drug supply chain, from manufacturers to pharmacies;
- Compliance with drug compounding regulations, both State and Federal;
- Review and approval of various types of policies and procedures for facilities that manufacture or distribute regulated products;
- Advising on clients’ written submissions to FDA requests for comments or rulemaking activities, and in some cases preparing those submissions on behalf of private companies or patient advocacy groups;
- Requirements for importing and exporting regulated products; and
- Food safety and labeling advice for human and animal food, including dietary supplements and so-called functional foods.
Joanne frequently works with clients to develop and implement their responses to common FDA actions, such as warning letters and inspectional reports (the “Form 483”). She has also been involved in advising and helping clients respond to Federal Trade Commission investigations related to product advertising and requests for substantiation of certain promotional claims.
Joanne also assists the Mintz corporate team by performing regulatory due diligence as part of potential mergers and acquisitions that involve regulated companies, and she often works in conjunction with the Firm’s intellectual property attorneys to ensure that patent and regulatory activities are strategically aligned. She has developed a distinctive relationship with Mintz attorneys who negotiate royalty monetization transactions and works closely with them in developing the terms for these unique transactions. Although the day-to-day work for clients may be different, the common thread that she enjoys most is helping companies (both start-up and established) bring their products to market – without heightened risks of enforcement actions as a result of non-compliance with sometimes-opaque regulatory requirements.
Prior to joining Mintz, Joanne was an attorney in the food and drug practice in the DC office of another law firm.
Joanne is an editor of and frequent contributor to the firm's Health Care Viewpoints.
- University of Maryland School of Law (JD, cum laude)
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (MS, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology)
- College of William & Mary (BS, Biology)
- Worked with several Mintz clients operating in non-FDA regulated industries to determine how to manufacture and distribute face shields, face masks, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in compliance with FDA’s enforcement discretion policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by providing promotion and labeling advice.
- Guided clients developing COVID-19 diagnostic or serological tests on various promotional risks and regulatory obligations both before and after they secure Emergency Use Authorizations from FDA that allow the test to be distributed and used in the United States.
- Prepared a Breakthrough Designation Request on behalf of a therapeutic developer client and helped another client secure Orphan Drug Designation for its innovative drug product.
- Participates in the Medical, Legal, and Regulatory (“MLR”) Committees that are engaged in promotional review activities on behalf of multiple clients with recently approved new drugs and biologics. Also assists various companies that market non-prescription consumer products in structuring and implementing their Advertising Compliance Programs and ensuring ongoing risk mitigation in new promotional activities or when launching new products.
- Assisted multiple pharmacy clients in determining whether to register with FDA as an Outsourcing Facility and advised them regarding the compliance obligations associated with this form of compounding business, including with respect to applicable COVID-19 enforcement discretion policies.
- Negotiated with FDA on behalf of a cosmetic client when a large shipment of imported products was detained by Customs and Border Protection due to non-compliant labeling and assisted company in developing plans for reconditioning the products.
- Counseled a cosmetic company on its response to an FDA Warning Letter related to the use of drug claims to promote cosmetic products and then assisted in the company’s implementation of internal processes and procedures to avoid similar issues in the future.
- Represented an innovative beverage company with a national profile on FDA compliance issues, labeling, promotional activities, and distribution agreements.
Recognition & Awards
- William P. Cunningham Award for Achievement and Service to the School of Law, University of Maryland (2007)
- Manuscripts Editor, The Journal of Health Care Law and Policy (Vol. 10)
- Recognized by The Legal 500 United States for Healthcare: Service Providers (2020)
- Recognized by The Legal 500 United States for Healthcare: Life Sciences (2021)
- JD Supra: Top Author, Readers' Choice Awards – Life Sciences (2021)
- Member, Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI)
- Member, FDLI Publications and Academic Programs Committee
- Member, Drug Information Association (DIA)
- Member, American Bar Association (ABA), and ABA Health Law Section
- Member, American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), and AHLA Life Sciences Practice Group
- Past Chair, FDLI Publications Committee
- Past Chair, FDLI Primer Committee
- Past Chair, FDLI Update Magazine Editorial Advisory Board
News & Press
July 13, 2021 | Blog | By Joanne Hawana, Benjamin Zegarelli
June 7, 2021 | Blog | By Joanne Hawana
On May 27, a similar reversal notice with strikingly similar language about the lack of FDA input or the inclusion of appropriate regulatory expertise in the decision-making process – and once again co-signed by Secretary Becerra and Dr. Woodcock – was published in the Federal Register. The target this time was the prior Administration’s announcement in November 2020 that it was withdrawing all FDA guidance documents prepared and issued as part of the agency’s Unapproved Drugs Initiative (UDI) and terminating the UDI program; that termination notice cited drug costs and competition-related concerns as well as the FDA’s failure to develop and announce the UDI through notice-and-comment rulemaking. We discussed this surprise action by the prior HHS leadership in our 2020 year-in-review blog post and speculated whether a more consumer-protective Department led by Secretary Becerra would be likely to reverse course (see here).