I

n response to anger from drug makers, the Food and Drug Administration delayed implementing a final rule until next year that would give the agency greater leeway to police off-label marketing. The move comes three weeks after the pharmaceutical industry filed a petition urging the agency to postpone the rule over concerns it would harm public health and chill “valuable scientific speech.”

As we noted previously, the rule says drug makers must update product labeling if there is evidence indicating a company intended its medicine to be used off-label, or for an unapproved use. Doctors are free to prescribe drugs for any purpose, while court rulings determined drug companies can make statements about off-label uses only if the information provided is truthful and not misleading.

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