Secreted within the 2023 omnibus appropriations bill—4,155 pages, spending $1.7 trillion—is a 19-line section that could change the way medicine is practiced.
Physicians routinely prescribe drugs and employ medical devices that are approved and labeled by the Food and Drug Administration for a particular use. Yet sometimes physicians discern other beneficial uses for these technologies, which they prescribe for their patients without specific official sanction. The new legislation amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, to give the FDA the authority to ban some of these off-label uses of otherwise approved products. This unwarranted intrusion into the physician-patient relationship threatens to undermine medical innovation and patient care.