Filter: Some PMTAs Not Evaluated on Merits

    Photo: Ronstix

    Confronted with an unexpected large volume of premarket tobacco applications, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration subjected some premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) to only a superficial review, according to documents obtained by Filter.

    The report follows the FDA’s denial of more than 1,167,000 marketing applications since Sept. 9, 2021.

    The PMTA review process comprises three phases: Phase I (Acceptance), which essentially means an application has been received; Phase II (Notification or Filing), which entails acknowledging a company had enough information for its applications to be formally filed; and Phase III (Review), which involves a substantive scientific evaluation, followed by a marketing granted order or marketing denial order (MDOs).

    Overwhelmed by the large number of PMTAs and facing a court-ordered deadline of Sept. 9, 2021, the FDA in effect opted for a shortcut, according to Filter.

    The publication cites a memorandum signed on July 9 by Matthew Holman, the director of FDA Center for Tobacco Products Office of Science (OS). “Considering the large number of applications that remain to be reviewed by the September 9, 2021, deadline, OS will conduct a Fatal Flaw review of PMTAs not in Phase III for non-tobacco-flavored ENDS products,” it reads.

    The Fatal Flaw review is a simple review in which the reviewer examines the submission to identify whether or not it contains the necessary type of studies. “The Fatal Flaw review will be limited to determining presence or absence of such studies; it will not evaluate the merits of the studies,” the memorandum states.

    Filter suggests that CTP reviewers created what’s probably a new method to get through a backlog of millions of PMTAs, searched those applications for longitudinal cohort studies and randomized clinical trials without evaluating any other evidence, and for applications lacking them, did not advance them beyond Phase II and just sent out templated MDOs.