44 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2016 Last revised: 13 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 12, 2016
Scholars, advocates, and courts have begun to recognize a First Amendment right for the makers of drugs and medical devices to promote their products “off-label”, without proving safety and efficacy of new intended uses. Yet, so far, this debate has occurred in a vacuum of peculiar cases, where convoluted commercial speech doctrine underdetermines the outcome. Juxtaposing these cases against other routine prosecutions of snake oil salespeople reveals the common legal regime now at issue. Review of the seven arguments deployed in the off-label domain finds that, if they were valid, they would undermine the FDA’s entire premarket approval regime. Even more, if valid, this First Amendment logic would undermine a wide range of statutory regimes that have similar intent-based structures and that rely on speech as evidence of intent.
Keywords: First Amendment, FDA, pre-market approval, drugmakers, medical devices, off-label, regulation, commercial speech, regulatory regimes
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Robertson, Christopher T., The Tip of the Iceberg: A First Amendment Right to Promote Drugs Off-Label (October 12, 2016). Ohio State Law Journal, 2017, Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803315