News Week in Review, March 4, 2014

The FDA updates its good reprint practices guidance, ACCME modifies the accreditation process, one attorney feels the abundance of qui tam cases are slowing the system, and the Solicitor General offers a suggestion to the Supreme Court on a qui tam case.

Laissez les bons temps rouler everyone! It’s the last day of the Carnival season and Mardi Gras is upon us. This is a crazy time of year in the Big Easy for sure, but even if you can’t make it to Bourbon Street, you just need to grab yourself some King Cake, organize an office krewe, and let the good times roll. As you contemplate all of the thematic possibilities for your floats, we’ll kick off our celebration of the week in compliance with this week’s News in Review.

Extravagant designs may work when designing Mardi Gras masques, but not so much for CME accreditation rules. The ACCME’s board of directors has adopted changes to simplify the accreditation process and requirements. Changes include a simplification of the process for first-time applications and the removal of some of the accreditation criteria and policy requirements. The changes apply to all CME providers in the ACCME accreditation system, and are effective immediately.

According to one expert, there are way too many attendees lining up for the qui tam ball. Peter Hutt, a defense lawyer in False Claims cases, points out that nearly 75 percent of cases brought by qui tam plaintiffs don’t result in government intervention or a recovery for the U.S. Treasury. According to Hutt, the cases are a drag on the system and he believes there should be changes to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Qui tam litigation should be a second line of defense in fighting fraud, says Hutt, and he would like to see incentives in place for companies to self-disclose fraudulent activity.

The U.S. Solicitor General is suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court not review a qui tam case involving Takeda. The case raises the question of whether a relator has to provide specific instances of false claims in order to meet satisfy rule 9(b) of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Although the circuit courts are split on the case, the Solicitor General believes the split among the circuit courts is not as pronounced as it initially appeared, and as the law evolves, the courts may resolve the issue.

Merck has good reason to celebrate this week. In a securities filing, the company noted the DOJ has closed its FCPA investigation of the company, and no action will be taken.

Any celebrating at the  French train manufacturer, Alstom, will have to wait. The company is expected to face charges of violating the U.K. Bribery Act. The charges are the result of a five year investigation. In 2010, the Serious Fraud Office raided the Alstom offices and the homes of several executives in the U.K., who were arrested under suspicion of paying bribes to win foreign contracts.

The FDA updated its good reprint practices guidance to address the topic of “distributing scientific and medical publications on unapproved new uses.” In the section referencing scientific or medical reference texts, the agency offers guidance on two fronts; providing chapters from a text and providing an entire textbook. Overall, the guidance for medical reference texts and CPGs are largely the same as medical journals.

That about does it for this week’s parade of compliance news. We wish you a joyous Fat Tuesday, and we look forward to bringing you all the compliance news you need to know right back her next week.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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