On October 31, 2023, FDA hosted a webinar to address some of the frequently asked questions the agency has received since the September 29, 2023 release of its proposed rule on laboratory developed tests (“LDTs”). The materials from the webinar are available on FDA’s CDRH Learn webpage. Importantly, FDA announced during the webinar that the agency does not currently plan to extend the comment period for the proposed rule beyond the standard 60-day timeframe, and therefore, comments are still due on Monday December 4, 2023. In both the preamble to the proposed rule and stated ...
In a last minute push before an anticipated government shutdown, FDA put down its marker for moving forward toward regulation of lab developed tests (“LDTs”). Unlike past proposals from FDA and Capitol Hill, FDA has taken a simple approach: laboratories that make LDTs for clinical use are manufacturing in vitro diagnostic medical devices (“IVDs”) for commercial distribution, and as such must eventually comply with FDA’s already-established IVD requirements. The FDA zeitgeist boils down to this: It doesn’t matter if the lab is large or small, for profit or ...
As discussed in our June Insight, earlier this year FDA publicly announced its development of a proposed rule that would expressly define laboratory developed tests (“LDTs”) as medical devices and subject them to the agency’s regulatory authority. Such a rule would be FDA’s first comprehensive attempt to impose its authority over LDTs since its 2014 draft guidance, which FDA ultimately chose not to finalize, and comes after several failed congressional legislative attempts to do the same.
Since the passage of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, FDA has regulated in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests as medical devices, subject to a full suite of FDA requirements. During that time, FDA has also asserted that it has the authority to regulate in-house tests developed and performed by CLIA-certified, high-complexity clinical laboratories (generally referred to as laboratory-developed tests or LDTs) but chose as a matter of enforcement discretion not to regulate LDTs. Over time, the Agency chipped away slowly at LDT enforcement discretion, carving out certain kinds of tests (e.g., direct-to-consumer LDTs) and thus making them subject to regulation, but by and large did not take broad steps to regulate LDTs.
At the January 8-9, 2015 FDA public meeting on the agency's proposal to regulate a portion of lab developed tests (LDTs), there was much debate regarding whether FDA has jurisdiction over IVDs made at clinical laboratories. Not coincidentally, on January 7, the day before the meeting, the American Clinical Laboratory Association released a white paper developed for the Association by a couple of prominent constitutional law scholars. The paper outlined the arguments at a high level against FDA jurisdiction over lab developed tests generally. But with all due respect to the authors as well as the speakers at the FDA public meeting, the discussion to date is taking place at such a high level that I do not find it particularly helpful. Mostly the discussions merely stake out the positions held by interested parties. They don't advance the collective understanding of the issues.
In connection with the public meeting, I developed five questions which help me think through the legal issues. I'd like to share those questions, in an effort to drive the discussion to a more granular level where differences can be more effectively debated and resolved. In addition, as with any lawyer, I'm drawn to precedent, so I'd like to share how FDA has tackled similar issues before. At the end of this post, based on precedent but also my conclusion that both sides are overstating their legal positions, I offer a path forward down the middle-of-the-road.
5 Questions That Frame FDA Authority Over IVDs Made at Labs
In posing these questions, I start with the most basic and simple and then move closer and closer to the current facts. In each case, I'll also give you what I think the answer is.
- DOJ’s FY 2023 Statistics: Highest Number of Settlements, Judgments, and Civil Investigative Demands in History and a Continued Health Care Focus
- FDA Releases Updated Directory on Select Dietary Supplement Ingredients
- In Alabama, Pre-Embryos are “Extrauterine Children” Under the State’s Wrongful Death Statute
- NJ Approves Cannabis Regulatory Amendment with Major Impacts on Class 5 Retail License Holders
- Unpacking Averages: Device Manufacturers Should Use the Newly Released Demographic Data in MDRs to Ensure Their Devices Are Not Disproportionately Hurting Minorities