Guidances in Administrative Law

Edward Rubin over on the Administrative Law JOTWELL, in the post “Uncovering the Hidden World of Administrative Guidance” exposed me to the 2019 article by Nicholas R. Parrillo “Federal Agency Guidance and the Power to Bind: An Empirical Study of Agencies and Industries” which I just find fascinating.

Guidances are an interesting part of our job. As a best practice, they show one way to get to the desired end result, but there can be other ways but the presence of guidance can obscure those possibilities. Often times if an agency goes to the level of detail to show you what good looks like you’d be foolish not to try to meet them there. Other times guidance can be a real head scratcher.

Good article, and of interest to the non-lawyers like myself who have to live within the boundaries.

FDA Foreign Drug Establishment Inspections – Congressional Testimony

Subcommittees of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard testimony last week from the Government Accountability Office’s Mary Denigan-Macauley and from Janet Woodcock, Director of FDA’s Center of Drug Evaluation and Research, about the state of FDA’s foreign drug establishment inspection program.

Deborah L. Livornese “Testimony About FDA’s Foreign Drug Establishment Inspection Program: GAO and FDA See Things Differently but Both Would Like to See a Fuller Glass.” FDA Law Blog. 16-Dec-2019

Good summary of recent testimony on FDA inspections outside the USA, especially China and India.

Data Integrity and the Role of Guidances

Interesting piece over at FDALawBlog on the new data integrity guidance “New Data Integrity Guidance Imposes Significant Burdens, Yet FDA Claims It Does Not Regulate by Guidance.”

I find it interesting to read a different perspective. I tend to be a big fan of guidances (they always need work) as they help lay down how we can get better and improve. Being on the front line of regulatory inspections probably more than a group of lawyers, I recognize the differences in how guidances are treated differently than regulations, and how the agencies apply very long lead times on how inspections treat this material. And frankly, the 483s and Warning Letters we are seeing coming out of data integrity scare the beejeezus out of me. There is also a need for the FDA to ensure it’s thinking on matters is aligned with our European and rest-of-world counterparts, especially in this day of mutual recognition agreements.

Regulatory and administrative law is definitely continually evolving. It is important to be aware of a variety of perspectives  on the subject.