FDA’s approach to a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) raises new questions about whether its marketing denial order was arbitrary and capricious and whether the deliberative-process exemption justifies its withholding of related records. The Agency’s approach is partially documented in a memorandum that FDA disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, and there is pending litigation over other records that FDA continues to withhold.
May a federal agency that has issued its final determination on a PMTA set aside a portion of its written analysis and withhold those records under the deliberative-process exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? What if those records actually support the PMTA or undermine the purported bases for the agency’s action? These are questions stemming from two pending cases involving FDA and JUUL Labs, Inc. (JLI). In No. 22-1123 (D.C. Cir.), JLI claims that FDA’s marketing denial order (MDO) on its PMTAs was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In No. 1:22-cv-02853 (D.D.C.), JLI claims that FDA’s withholding of these records is not supported by FOIA’s deliberative-process exemption.Continue Reading Hidden FDA Report Raises Questions About Its Approach to Public Records and Premarket Tobacco Review