The cigar industry and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration will meet in virtual federal court tomorrow afternoon to discuss FDA’s plans to defer premium cigar product approval and the upcoming Sept. 8 deadline for product approval.
Last week, attorneys for the Department of Justice—acting on behalf of FDA—informed a different federal court that it was planning on introducing a plan to allow premium cigar manufacturers to apply from deferment from the upcoming FDA product approval process while the agency reevaluates how it should regulate premium cigars. Now, the Washington, D.C.-based federal court that has heard arguments about the validity of FDA’s regulations of cigars will hear arguments on the matter.
This is the same federal court that heard arguments about whether the product approval process for premium cigars was legal only a few weeks ago.
Michael Edney, the lead attorney for the cigar industry trade groups who are plaintiffs in this case, filed a brief that criticized both the timing and the lack of details surrounding the deferment process. Edney raised a variety of predictable criticisms of last week’s announcement, notably pointing out that FDA failed to present full details for how the deferment process would work and that those lack of details could lead to a situation where premium cigar manufacturers are left in limbo with whether their products are legal.
In addition, various anti-tobacco groups have filed a motion to participate in the hearing. These groups had previously been denied the ability to serve as co-defendants in this case.
The hearing will take at 2 p.m. via teleconference in front of Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.