Courts Rule Against FDA On Packaging Changes

In the District of Columbia District Court, Judge Amit Mehta ruled against the FDA on a lawsuit over what constitutes a new product.

The Lawsuit filed by Altria, Lorillard and Reynolds America argued what constituted a new product. According to the FDA, a new cigar band or change in packaging would constitute a new cigar and companies would need to file for substantial equivalence.

The ruling states that a change in logo, colors, packaging and/or cigar bands does not constitute a new product and companies do not need to file for substantial equivalence.

According to J. Glynn Loope, Executive Director for Cigar Rights of America, “This decision proves the wisdom of having three branches of government. Checks and balances have never been more important, given the threat of regulations, from an unelected bureaucracy, with only the courts available to seek relief from agencies such as the FDA. Obviously the cigar industry had a tremendous interest in this packaging case, and the court’s ruling is a step in the right direction.

However it wasn’t all good news as Judge Mehta also ruled that a quantity change would constitute a new product. So if a cigar company was to change a cigar box quantity from 20 to 25 or even down 10 it would need to file for substantial equivalence.

To underline how important of a win this is companies like Avo and Camacho who are owned by Davidoff an advertiser here on The Cigar Authority would no longer need to file for substantial equivalence over the branding changes made to their cigars recently.