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After years of anticipation, the Food and Drug Administration will hold a public, two-day meeting starting on Wednesday to review the extent to which so-called off-label information about medicines may be disseminated to physicians.

Nothing will get decided, though. The meeting is designed simply to give the public — drug makers and patient advocates alike — a long-awaited chance to convey their opinions and debate the issue.


Off-label information refers to materials that describe unapproved uses of a drug. Doctors are allowed to prescribe a medicine for an unapproved use, but drug makers have long battled restrictions on their ability to distribute this type of information — such as reprints of medical studies — and have lobbied Congress and the FDA to loosen regulations.

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