Suit Against FDA Could Affect Hand Sanitizers

The most amusing title I have ever seen on an FDA guidance document is “Is it a Cosmetic, a Drug or Both? (Or is it soap?)” http://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/ucm074201.htm. This guidance addresses common misconceptions about how certain products are regulated.  Hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps are examples of products whose regulatory status is confusing to many and so we have decided to send this update to our friends and clients working in both the drug and cosmetic sectors.
A recent blog post from Hyman & Phelps discusses a law suit in which the Natural Resources Defense Council is suing FDA to force the agency to finalize the over the counter drug monograph for tricolsan and triclocarban, common ingredients in many hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps.  Work began on this monograph in 1974 and has languished since 1994; NRDC claims the delays are unnecessary. While not final, FDA states that the monograph reflects the agency’s opinion on the topic and no matter what the result of this lawsuit, companies that comply with the tentative monograph will not have to reformulate their products or change their labeling.  The tentative status of the monograph has been exploited as a loophole of sorts by some companies that market hand sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps with triclosan, triclocarban and other nonmonograph active ingredients. If the NRDC prevails in this case and FDA rapidly finalizes the monograph, companies using active ingredients other than isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, povidon and various forms of iodine will have to reformulate their products.
To read more about the legal issues surrounding this lawsuit, please read the entire Law Blog post at:

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