Product liability considerations are not likely the first concerns that spring to mind for the many companies working to develop digital health countermeasures and other products related to COVID-19. Yet even while putting together solutions on an accelerated timeline, there are some straightforward actions that companies can take that may reduce litigation risk down the
Emily Ullman has a complex civil litigation practice focusing on products liability and mass torts work, primarily representing members of the life sciences industry and consumer goods manufacturers and suppliers across federal and state courts. In addition, she counsels companies facing transactions, regulatory interactions, or strategic decisions that expose them to tort risk.
In light of the rapidly expanding field of medical software technology, and its recognition that traditional approval mechanisms for hardware-based medical devices may not be well suited to regulating such technology, FDA is piloting a new, streamlined regulatory approach for digital health technologies. The initiative, currently a “working model” and known as the Software Precertification…
In this bonus edition of our checkup series, Covington’s global cross-practice Digital Health team considers some additional key questions about product liability and insurance coverage that companies across the life sciences and technology sectors should be asking as they seek to fit together the regulatory and commercial pieces of the complex digital health puzzle.
1. What are the key questions when crafting warnings and disclosures?
If your product is regulated, your warnings and disclosures will need to comply with any relevant regulations. In the case of a product not regulated by the FDA or equivalent regulatory body, first consider how your warnings and disclosures will be incorporated into the use of the product.
Some disclosures, like an explanation of the data source used by software, may fit best in terms and conditions that a user sees before using the product. Key warnings, however, may be more appropriately placed as part of the user experience.
Example: A warning that patients should consult their doctors if necessary may need to be placed in proximity to specific medical content.
Best Practice: Consider your intended audience: are you writing warnings for doctors, patients, or institutions? The appropriate types of disclosures will vary across populations. Patient-directed warnings may also need to be written in simplified language.
Best Practice: Consider whether it is appropriate for your product to have users to accept or otherwise be required to agree to the warnings and disclosures.