American Journal of Law & Medicine

Pharmaceuticals: scope of First Amendment - Washington Legal Foundation v. Friedman.

Pharmaceuticals: Scope of First Amendment--Washington Legal Foundation v. Friedman(1)--The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that drug manufacturers' promotional activities encouraging the off-label prescription of drugs by physicians were speech rather than conduct; the promotional activities were not wholly outside the scope of the First Amendment; the promotional activities were commercial speech, not pure speech; and the government's restrictions on drug manufacturers' promotional activities violated the Central Hudson(2) test for commercial speech. The court concluded that the government's restrictions on drug manufacturers' promotional activities were more extensive than necessary to serve the government interest and thus unduly burdened an important form of speech.

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The WLF sought to enjoin the FDA and DHSS from "enforcing policies restricting certain forms of manufacturer promotion of off-label uses for FDA-approved drugs and devices. …

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