WASHINGTON--The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), a public interest
group, has claimed that the FDA violated the First Amendment rights
of physicians by denying them access to information about the
off-label use of certain oncologic drugs.
WLF's suit arises from an action taken by the FDA that prevented
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.from giving physicians complimentary copies
of The Chemotherapy Sourcebook, edited by Michael Perry, and chapters
from Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, by Vincent DeVita,
Samuel Hellman, and Steven Rosenberg.
Federal Judge Royce Lamberth denied the FDA's motion to dismiss
the suit, thus clearing the way for a trial, which will be the
first constitutional test of the agency's criteria to discourage
what it views as improper promotion of drugs by means of distribution
of legitimate medical educational material.