On August 2, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a final rule amending existing regulations (21 C.F.R. § 201.128 and 21 CFR § 801.4) that describe the types of evidence relevant to determine a drug or device’s intended use under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). See 86 Fed. Reg. 41,384–85.
This final rule, which takes effect as of September 1, 2021, withdraws and replaces a final rule that FDA promulgated on January 9, 2017, but which never became effective due to an outcry concerning a problematic knowledge provision that was contrary to the statutory scheme of the FDCA and to physicians’ autonomy to use FDA-approved products in an off-label manner.
Prior to the 2021 final rule, FDA issued a proposed rule on September 23, 2020 that eliminated the 2017 rule’s knowledge provision and was much more aligned with FDCA intent and current FDA policy and practice. FDA maintains, and we agree, that August 2021 final rule remains largely unchanged from the 2020 proposed language.
The following is a review of some important changes that FDA regulated entities should take note of as they develop and market FDA regulated products: