The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now states that it will complete all covered marketing applications by June 30. In its latest court-ordered status report, the agency stated that continued review is
necessary in light of recent judicial decisions, including the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Fontem US.
“Further, several of these remaining applications present complex scientific issues that require careful review and consideration.
In the Fontem case, the court’s unanimous decision in Fontem US v. FDA upheld the regulatory agency’s denial of Fontem’s application to market flavored vaping products, in line with prior D.C. Circuit precedent but rejected the FDA’s denial of Fontem’s applications for unflavored products.
The agency stated that it was also facing challenges from manufacturers that filed premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) that made amendments to their applications after several legal decisions were handed down by courts.
“Many of these amendments contain substantial data and scientific explanation,” the agency wrote. “The amendments range from a few pages to hundreds of pages and were received on a rolling basis, with the most recent 2023 amendment being filed in December 2023.”
Also, on Jan. 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the FDA acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in rejecting the premarket tobacco product applications (PMTA) of Wages and White Lion Investments, doing business as Triton Distribution, and Vapetasia for approval to sell their products in the United States.
The 9-5 decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit reversed a July 2022 decision by a three-judge panel of that court.
The agency “sent manufacturers of flavored e-cigarette products on a wild goose chase,” telling them what would be needed to approve their products, and then denying all applications, the court said in an opinion by Judge Andrew S. Oldham. The FDA “never gave petitioners fair notice that they needed to conduct long-term studies on their specific flavored products,” Oldham wrote.
The regulatory agency is under court order to file regular status reports on the agency’s review of pending PMTAs for new tobacco products that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016.
For such new tobacco products to be lawfully marketed in the United States, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requires the FDA to complete a substantive review of the PMTA for each new tobacco product and issue a marketing granted order authorizing the sale of the product.
The court order stems from litigation filed by health groups against the FDA seeking a court-imposed deadline for finalizing the review of the PMTAs that were filed with the agency by Sept. 9, 2020.
The court-imposed deadline to complete the agency’s review was originally Sept. 9, 2021, which the FDA could not meet due to the extremely large number of PMTAs filed by manufacturers.
The most recent and FDA’s seventh status report was filed on Oct. 23, 2023. Specifically, in these reports, the FDA provides an update on the progress to finalize the agency’s review of pending PMTA “covered applications.”
A “covered application” is for new electronic cigarette/vapor products that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016, which had a PMTA filed with the FDA by Sept. 9, 2020, are sold under the brand names of Juul, Vuse, Njoy, Logic, Blu, Smok, Suorin, or Puff Bar, and reach 2 percent or more of the total retail sales volume in NielsenIQ’s various retail e-cigarette sales reports.
The agency also stated that it now expects to take action on 94 percent of covered applications by March 31. The FDA stated that it would file another status report on or before April 22.