Court Orders FDA to Resolve Vanda Pharmaceuticals' Jet Lag Hearing Request by March 5, 2024

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Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VNDA) won a motion for summary judgment against the FDA for unlawfully delaying the approval of HETLIOZ® to treat jet lag disorder. The court ordered the FDA to resolve the sNDA or commence a hearing by March 5, 2024.
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The ruling against the FDA for delaying the hearing on Vanda Pharmaceuticals' sNDA represents a significant legal precedent in the pharmaceutical industry. It emphasizes the legal obligations of the FDA under the FDCA, which stipulates strict timelines for drug approval processes. The decision underscores the judiciary's role in ensuring that regulatory agencies adhere to statutory requirements. This ruling may prompt a review of the FDA's internal policies regarding drug approval timelines and could lead to reforms aimed at preventing such delays in the future.

From a legal standpoint, this case could serve as a reference for other pharmaceutical companies facing similar issues with the FDA. It might encourage companies to assert their legal rights when facing regulatory inertia. However, it's crucial to note that while the court's decision mandates timely action from the FDA, it does not guarantee the approval of the drug in question.

The court's directive for the FDA to resolve Vanda's sNDA or commence a hearing by a set date is a pivotal development for Vanda Pharmaceuticals and potentially for the pharmaceutical sector as a whole. The prolonged timeline of almost 2,000 days since the initial application far exceeds the 300-day statutory requirement, highlighting systemic issues within the FDA's drug approval process.

This ruling could have a ripple effect, influencing investor confidence in pharmaceutical companies that are navigating the FDA approval process. It may lead to increased scrutiny of the FDA's performance and timelines, potentially accelerating the approval process for future drug applications. However, it's important to consider that expedited processes should not compromise the thoroughness and integrity of drug safety evaluations.

The court's decision brings to light the tension between regulatory diligence and the need for swift medical innovation, especially for conditions with unmet therapeutic needs. Delays in the drug approval process can have significant implications for patient access to new treatments. In this case, patients suffering from jet lag disorder have had to wait years beyond the anticipated timeline for a potential new therapy.

Policy implications of this ruling may extend beyond the immediate case, potentially influencing future legislative discussions around FDA processes and patient access to care. It could also catalyze conversations about balancing regulatory oversight with the urgency of delivering innovative treatments to patients. Stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups and healthcare providers, will be attentive to how this ruling may shape future FDA practices.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Vanda) (Nasdaq: VNDA) today announced that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted Vanda's motion for summary judgment on its claim against the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for unlawfully delaying a hearing on the approvability of Vanda's supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for HETLIOZ® to treat jet lag disorder (Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. FDA, case no. 1:22-cv-2275-CJN).

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) requires the FDA to either approve a new drug application or provide an opportunity for a hearing within 180 days after submission of the application.1 Vanda submitted its sNDA in October 2018 for approval to market HETLIOZ® to treat jet lag disorder. The FDA did not comply with the statute and did not timely approve or provide an opportunity for a hearing. Instead, the FDA issued a complete response letter in August 2019.

Following multiple attempts to informally resolve the complete response letter, Vanda requested an opportunity for a hearing in July 2022, and the FDA provided Vanda a private notice of an opportunity for a hearing. After doing so, the FDA was required under the FDCA to commence the hearing within 120 days2, but the FDA failed to meet this legal obligation.

To remedy the FDA's extraordinary delays, Vanda filed its lawsuit in September 2022. On January 26, 2024, a federal judge ruled that the FDA "has violated the statute" and ordered the FDA to either finally resolve Vanda's sNDA or commence a hearing on the sNDA on or before March 5, 2024. As the Court explained, "the statute requires that a hearing shall commence within 300 days after an application is filed. Vanda's application has been pending for almost 2,000 days and it has been over 500 days since Vanda made its most recent request for hearing."

The Court's decision highlights the serious flaws in FDA regulations governing drug-approval processes, and it reinforces the FDA's clear statutory obligations to render timely final decisions on drug applications. It appears from this case, and from the FDA's standard policies, that FDA decisionmakers have implemented a policy of following the FDA's own timelines, resulting in unlawful actions that are systemic. The FDA's extraordinary delays impede medical innovation to the detriment of the many patients with unmet needs who lack effective therapeutics. The FDA's delays force these patients to wait years longer than Congress envisioned for access to urgently needed pharmaceutical innovation.


  1. 21 U.S.C. § 355(c)(1)
  2. 21 U.S.C. § 355(c)(1)(B)

About Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Vanda is a leading global biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies to address high unmet medical needs and improve the lives of patients. For more on Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc., please visit and follow us on X @vandapharma.


For full U.S. Prescribing Information for HETLIOZ®, including indication and Important Safety Information, visit

Corporate Contact:

Kevin Moran
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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What did Vanda Pharmaceuticals win a motion for summary judgment for?

Vanda Pharmaceuticals won a motion for summary judgment against the FDA for unlawfully delaying the approval of HETLIOZ® to treat jet lag disorder.

What was the court's order to the FDA?

The court ordered the FDA to resolve the sNDA or commence a hearing on the sNDA by March 5, 2024.

What is the ticker symbol for Vanda Pharmaceuticals?

The ticker symbol for Vanda Pharmaceuticals is VNDA.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.


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vanda is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapies to address high unmet medical needs and improve the lives of patients.