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J Cannabis Res ; 3(1): 49, 2021 Dec 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559406


BACKGROUND: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors, inspects, and enforces the promotion of products by companies that claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. The introduction of COVID-19-related diagnostics and therapeutics during the pandemic has highlighted the significance of rigorous clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy of such interventions. The objective of this report is to provide a descriptive review of promotional violations of health products for COVID-19 infection. METHODS: Warning letters issued by the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research were retrieved over an 18 month period (March 6, 2020, to August 30, 2021) to identify promotional violations. FDA violation letters categorized as "Unapproved and Misbranded Products Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" were reviewed. A content analysis was performed for each letter to identify categories for product type, promotional venue, violation type, and country of origin. For cannabidiol-related violations, a content analysis was repeated within its own product category. RESULTS: A total of 130 letters were reported. Across all letters, cannabidiol products were the most frequent subject of violation (15/130; 11.5%). Of the cannabidiol letters, all reported the promotion of unapproved products (15/15; 100%), misbranding (15/15; 100%), and/or had claims that lacked scientific substantiation (14/15; 93.3%). All promotional violations were linked to websites (15/15; 100%), along with other mainstream venues: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. Lastly, the cannabidiol products were described to provide therapeutic benefit to COVID-19, by acting as an anti-viral (5; 33.3%), pro-inflammatory (1; 6.7%), anti-inflammatory (7; 46.7%), immune-booster (5; 40%), immune-suppressor (2; 13.3%), and/or other (2; 13.3%). CONCLUSION: Despite the urgent need for COVID-19 treatments, promotional material by companies must comply with standard regulatory requirements, namely substantiation of claims. As the pandemic persists, the FDA must continue their efforts to monitor, inspect, and enforce violative companies. Cannabidiol-related substances led the spectrum of products with unsubstantiated claims to treat COVID-19 infection. Improving awareness among the public, healthcare providers, and stakeholders highlights the value of drug approval process, while protecting public safety.

Pharmaceut Med ; 35(5): 287-295, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439797


Pharmaceutical development was at the forefront of efforts to prevent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as to treat its often-devastating effects. Drug development, and its multifaceted and multi-disciplined activity toward effective vaccines and drugs, became part of everyday news. I review several key areas of vaccine and drug development that were brought into the public mainstream over the evolution of the pandemic. These include the unprecedented speed of vaccine discovery and development, issues uncovered from early clinical studies, and regulatory concepts that were highlighted throughout the development process. Among these was the importance of pharmacovigilance as each new agent was rapidly deployed to a mostly eager public. Critical challenges around production, packaging, and procurement of product for patient use were often centre stage. Finally, the ever-important need to transition not only from scientific concept to vaccine and drug, but from their authorized and approved use to their implementation in health systems to insure the intended effects both in individuals and populations.

COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Approval , Drug Development , Drug Discovery , Global Health , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , Drug Packaging , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Patient Safety , Public Opinion , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors
Pharmaceut Med ; 35(4): 203-213, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375861


The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) originated in 2004 because of the need for emergency medical countermeasures (MCMs) against potential bioterrorist attacks. The EUA also proved useful in dealing with subsequent pandemics and has emerged as a critical regulatory pathway for therapeutics and vaccines throughout the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. With the EUA process in the USA, we witnessed emergency authorizations, their expansions, as well as withdrawal of previously authorized products, which exemplifies the dynamic nature of scientific review of EUA products. EUAs proved vital for the first group of COVID-19 vaccines, including the temporary pause of one vaccine while emergency safety issues were evaluated. Although this review on the EUA is primarily focused on the USA, distinctions were made with other jurisdictions such as Europe and Canada with respect to the emergency authorizations of the vaccines. Finally, we discuss some important differences following EUA and formal new drug/vaccine application (NDA/BLA) approvals.

Antiviral Agents/standards , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Approval/legislation & jurisprudence , Emergencies/history , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Bioterrorism/history , Bioterrorism/prevention & control , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Canada/epidemiology , Civil Defense/history , Drug Approval/history , Emergencies/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , History, 21st Century , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , United States/epidemiology