Federal judges rule that ban on off-label marketing violates freedom of speech

The New York Times reports that a federal appeals court threw out the conviction of a drug company sales representative who sold a drug for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In a case that could have broad ramifications for the pharmaceutical industry, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan ruled that the ban on so-called off-label marketing violated the representative’s freedom of speech. In recent years, drug companies have paid billions of dollars in penalties to the federal government after being accused of marketing blockbuster drugs for off-label uses.