Arachnoiditis New Findings How does this effect you?
Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:37 PM
Expert Report of Suzanne Parisian, M.D.
Re: Pantopaque March 30, 2002
Since August 1995, I, Suzanne Parisian, M..D. have been President and founder of Medical
Device Assistance, Inc., a regulatory and medical consulting firm specializing in matters
involving the United States Food and Drug Administration's regulation of medical products. I
received my Medical Degree (M.D) from the University of South Florida in 1978 and am Board
Certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. From 1991 to 1995, I served as a Commissioned
Officer in the United States Public Health Service and achieved the rank of Commander. During
this time period, I was primarily assigned to the Center for Devices and Radiological Health
(CDRH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Concurrently, during l991 to l995, I was
also assigned clinical responsibilities at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Office
of the Medical Examiner for the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.. From 1991 to 1993, I was a
Medical Officer in the Office of Health Affairs (OHA) a staff office within the FDA. From
March 1993 to December 1993, I was a Medical Officer in the Office of Device Evaluation,
(ODE), Division of Reproductive Abdominal, Ear, Nose and Throat, and Radiology,
(DRAERD) at the FDA. From January 1994 through June 1995, I was Chief Medical Officer
for DRAERD at the FDA. My most current curriculum vitae is provided in Attachment “1"
ODE, FDA is the Office within CDRH responsible for the premarketing evaluation of product
applications submitted by the manufacturer to market devices that are safe and effective within
the United States. In ODE, I participated in the review of marketing applications as well as had
the assigned responsibility of training new medical officers and scientific reviewers in
application and labeling review at CDRH. I was an instructor in FDA’s Staff College for the
instruction of CDRH reviewers in the design and evaluation of clinical data contained within
While in OHA, I was a medical officer responsible for the review of mandatory adverse event
reports submitted by a manufacturer, as well as the review of voluntary reports submitted by
health care providers, patients and others. Within OHA, I was the primary clinician assigned
responsibility to preside over 162 health risk assessments that were convened to advise FDA on
the overall health risk of medical devices’ performance issues, identification of public health
safety issues, and to make recommendations to FDA regarding the subsequent regulatory actions
that should be undertaken by FDA, health care providers, users groups and manufacturers in
order to help protect the public’s welfare. While in ODE, I performed an additional 100 health
risk assessments and trained medical officers as to the procedure for conducting a health risk
At FDA, I participated with FDA’s District Offices, Office of General Consul, and the Office of
Compliance in the review of manufacturing records, product complaints and adverse event
reports obtained by FDA. I was the primary clinician involved in several of FDA’s Major
Corporate-Wide actions for which I received various citations and honors for my services from
FDA, including Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Government
Employee of the Month.
I was sent by FDA as official Agency representative to medical meetings and seminars to help
monitor medical device manufacturers and distributors for deviations from regulations governing
promotional activities. I was also required to provide guidance as to the FDA’s interpretation of
Food and Drug Laws as they pertain to medical products and the role of manufacturers.
After leaving FDA, and founding Medical Device Assistance, Inc., I have continued to provide
information to individuals and organizations outside FDA regarding FDA’s requirements,
Adverse Event Reporting, and labeling of medical products. I was requested by FDA to
participate in a l997 panel of experts convened by FDA to comment on changes proposed in the
requirements for medical device labeling. I continue to lecture at conferences and seminars
regarding FDA, premarket clearance, design of clinical trials and product labeling. I am the
author of FDA Inside and Out published May 2001 which is a book about the workings and
history of the FDA.
II. Information Considered
My opinions are based upon my own personal experience and knowledge of activities developed
while at the FDA, my review of FDA's records, my own professional activities, education and
experience, and consulting activities after leaving FDA. I am familiar with the FDA's regulation
of medical products, including radiological and imaging products, Adverse Event Reporting,
health risk assessment, and labeling of FDA-regulated products that are intended to be marketed
in the U.S. I have been responsible for the Agency’s review of biocompatibility and toxicity data
including animal and clinical studies. I was Chief Medical Officer of ODE’s Division that
reviewed radiologic products and was involved in the review and evaluation of contrast agents
and imaging devices. I am a Board Certified Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist.
I have reviewed materials regarding Iophendylate, Pantopaque, Lafayette Pharmacal, Eastman
Kodak Company, Alcon Laboratories, Inc. that have been provided to me for this litigation. I
have conducted my own review of FDA’s database and the U.S. medical literature through the
National Library of Medicine’s database to obtain documents pertaining to the use of
iophendylate. I have reviewed all the Iophendylate, Pantopaque and Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc.
and Alcon Laboratories, Inc. documents that were available to me within the public database.
Finally, I have reviewed the March 20, 2002 Expert Witness Report of Charles V. Burton, M.D.
III. FDA’s Approval of Drugs - A Brief Overview
FDA’s regulatory premarket oversight was officially extended over human drugs sold in the
United States following the passage of the 1938 Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) signed
into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Among the many provisions of the 1938 FDCA,
was the requirement that all new drugs be required to be shown through FDA’s approval of a
premarketing submission that they were “safe” before being legally allowed to be marketed in
the U.S. The results of safety testing would be submitted to FDA in a New Drug Application
(NDA) This revision of the earlier 1906 Act also had a provision that any drug which was
marketed prior to June 25, 1938, could continue to be marketed without FDA’s approval
provided no significant alterations in formulation or labeling had occurred since that time. That
is, such a drug would not be considered a new drug (i.e. grandfather clause.)
The law also required that drugs have adequate labeling for safe use. The monitoring of all drug
advertising was assigned to the Federal Trade Commission.
The early 1940s saw three major additions to FDA’s responsibilities in terms of drugs. The
Insulin Amendment, passed in 1941, required all batches of insulin to be tested for purity,
strength, quality, and identity before marketing. Also starting in 1941, the Agency required
prescriber labeling for all new drugs in concert with the adequate directions for use provision of
the 1938 Act. The Penicillin Amendment was passed in 1945, modeled on the Insulin
Amendment. The former required batch certification of drugs wholly or partially composed of
penicillin. Subsequent amendments extended the certification requirement to other antibiotics.
The FDCA and World War II greatly expanded the role of FDA’s overall regulatory oversight.
Wartime demands stimulated the rapid development, availability and marketing of new “wonder
drugs”, especially antibiotics for treating war casualties.
(* Pantopaque was approved for marketing 1944 through support of “safety”.)
At the start of the 1950's, FDA’s resources were still viewed by Congress and the Agency as
seriously deficient for the assigned tasks. FDA’s appropriations and staff in the 1950's, never
considered as adequate by Congress, had remained approximately at the same levels as 1938
when Congress passed the FDCA. The 1951 Durham-Humphrey Amendment to the FDCA
further defined U.S. drugs that could not be safely used without medical supervision and
restricted the sale of these drugs to receipt of a prescription by a licensed health care provider.
In 1955, FDA undertook a pilot study on adverse drug reaction reporting. In cooperation with
the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, the American Medical Association, and others,
the study was focused on reactions that could be reported by hospitals and pharmacists. Adverse
reaction reporting was voluntary and reports were usually scarce. This study blossomed into a
more ambitious effort in 1957 to test a large-scale system for voluntary reporting to assist with
post-marketing evaluation of new drugs. By 1963 the study had evolved into a voluntary
reporting system with almost 20 hospitals participating.
In Europe, there was a major safety uproar secondary to the disastrous introduction of the drug
thalidomide, a new sleeping pill, and its subsequent association with a production of serious
birth defects. However, the United States’s FDA was viewed in a positive light after the cautious
actions of FDA’s Medical Office Dr. Frances Kelsey, that had kept the drug from approval for
commercial entry onto the U.S. market. Despite lack of FDA approval, more than two million
thalidomide tablets had been distributed in the U.S. as “investigational drugs”. Investigational
drug distribution had been largely unregulated in the US under FDCA.
The FDA’s prudent actions to not approve thalidomide that appeared to have protected US public
safety aroused a strong public support for FDA’s role in drug regulation and the need for stronger
laws to ensure “drug safety”. In partial response to the issue, FDA’s Commissioner George
Larrick established an Advisory Committee on Teratology and Congress was able to obtain the
necessary public support to pass the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendment to ensure drug
“safety and efficacy”.
The 1962 Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments or the Drug Amendments of 1962 to the FDCA
continued to require that a “new drug” be required to demonstrate that it was both “safe” but also
now that it was “effective” before being allowed commercially onto the U.S. market. As a result
of the 1962 Amendment to the FDCA, FDA also retrospectively went back to reassess the
“efficacy” of nearly 3,000 prescription drugs that FDA had already allowed to be introduced onto
the U.S. market between 1938 and 1962. (*That review included Pantopaque.)
The FDA responded to this large retrospective review task given to it by Congress by seeking
external advice or assistance through a contract with the National Academy of Sciences- National
Research Council (NAS-NRC). NAS-NRC membership were required to review previously
marketed prescription drugs and made recommendations to FDA regarding safety, efficacy, and
labeling. The FDA’s retrospective efficacy review program was called the “ Drug Efficacy
Study Implementation Review” or “DESI”.
As a result of DESI, in the years following 1962, literally thousands of previously “approved”
drugs were removed from the U.S. market by FDA because it was determined that they lacked
evidence in the medical literature to support “efficacy”. DESI evaluated 3000 separate drug
products and over 16,000 therapeutic claims. By 1984, FDA had completed final action on 3,443
products; of these, 2,225 were found to be effective; 1,051 were found to not be effective, and
167 the decision was still pending.
FDA also required manufacturers to update their product labeling to reflect the known medical
facts regarding drug safety and efficacy determined by DESI and to bring drug labeling into
compliance with FDA’s requirements for prescription labeling. Drug prescription labeling was
revised to be more uniform and come into compliance with FDA’s prescription labeling
requirements of the FDCA and labeling for other similar products. To expedite developing drug
prescription labeling for similar types of products, FDA turned to the regulated industry itself
for models of the “best” designed labeling for each type of product.
The 1966 Fair Packaging and Labeling Act required all consumer products sold in interstate
commerce to be honestly and informatively labeled. FDA became officially responsible for
enforcement of labeling provisions for foods, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices.
(*Pantopaque had been approved with “safety” data in 1944, and was included in the FDA’s
retrospective drug review (DESI) of the medical literature by NAS-NRC for support of both
safety and efficacy. FDA required labeling changes that coincided with NAS-NRC medical
literature review and labeling of similar products.
In 1963 FDA had required the sponsors of Pantopaque to submit a new NDA for gaining
approval of a new strength (15% iodine) Pantopaque, or Pantopaque II. The product for the new
NDA would be required to meet the Agency’s new requirements for animal safety testing to
assure safety, scientific support of both human safety and efficacy, requirements further
developed by FDA since the initial World War II era NDA for Pantopaque I (30% iodine). The
new Pantopaque NDA was subsequently left uncompleted and withdrawn by Lafayette
Pharmacal in 1969.)
In Upjohn v. Finch, 1970, the Court of Appeals upheld enforcement of the 1962 Drug Efficacy
Amendments by ruling that commercial success alone did not constitute substantial evidence of
drug safety and efficacy. FDA’s review actions of drugs for “efficacy” had been curtailed while
the Agency waited to learn the final decision of the Courts as to legality of the Agency’s
enforcement actions for “efficacy” requirements.
A 1977 Intercenter FDA Task Force established a Bioresearch Monitoring Program for FDA.
The need for such a program to monitor clinical trials became evident from a survey of the
“conductance of clinical studies” involving FDA-regulated products by FDA’s field inspection
operation team between 1972 and 1974. Following a further review of the agency’s inspectional
findings, Congress mandated that FDA immediately develop and implement a new agency-wide
program for monitoring the conductance of bioresearch and clinical activities.
In 1982, the Bureau of Biologics and the Bureau of Drugs were merged into a Center for Drugs
and Biologics, with Biologics products regulated through the Office of Biologics. In 1987 the
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and
Research (CBER) officially were divided into two separate and independent FDA review and
As a result of the U.S. push to obtain cheaper generic drugs and the FDA’s Generic Drug Scandal
of the 1990's, (*i.e. manufacturers had supplied FDA with fraudulent data regarding the
production of generic drugs), the FDA instituted product-specific, pre-approval inspection of
manufacturing sites listed within a sponsor’s marketing applications would extend to generic
drug applications. During pre-marketing approval inspection, FDA was required to review the
step-by-step manufacturing process of each product under review. All drug applications were
reviewed for their scientific content and for manufacturing procedures as well as validation
methods, raw material specifications and container and closure systems used.
By Federal Register, September 10, 1991, FDA’s Notice 56 FR 46191- Fraud, Untrue
Statements of Material Facts, Bribery, and Illegal Gratuities; Final Policy, the agency
announced its final policy that set forth FDA’s approach regarding applicants that sought to
subvert the agency’s review and approval process of premarketing applications.
CDER 06/19/00 release of the Guidance for Industry- Developing Medical Imaging Drugs
and Biological Products. This guidance was prepared by the Division of Medical Imaging and
Radiopharmaceutical Drug Products in CDER and the Office of Therapeutics Research and
Review in CBER, FDA, with comment from Office of Device Evaluation, Radiological Branch,
CDRH. The guidance was to represent the Agency’s current thinking on the development of
medical imaging drugs and biologics ( medical imaging agents).
A. Early Development
Approximately 1918, following a proposal by Dandy, visualization of the spinal cord
radiographically was done by injection of air into the spinal column to enhance anatomic
structure imaging. In 1922, iodinized poppy seed oil, which had been commercially available
since 1901 for injection into the epidural space, began to be used for intrathecal injection for
enhanced imaging of the spinal cord. Usually less than 5 cc of poppy seed oil was introduced
into the intrathecal space and it was recommended that it be removed following imaging. A
1932 opinion statement of the American Medical Association had discouraged the introduction
of any foreign oily material, such as iodinized poppy seed oil, into the spinal cord unless the
potential benefit of the procedure could justify the potential long-term risk to the patient.
The investigation of the use of the medical imaging agent ethyl iodophenylundecylate, which
would eventually be called Pantopaque, began in 1936 at the University of Rochester, School of
Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY with initial animal work done by William Strain, Ph.D.
and Stafford Warren, MD. The investigators were reportedly seeking a more effective and safer
medical imaging agent for imaging the spinal cord then iodinized poppy seed oil. They also
wanted to develop a radiopaque substance that would be nontoxic when injected into the spinal
canal, that would disappear from the body within several weeks, more rapidly then the iodinized
poppy seed oil, and also improve the overall quality of radiological imaging of the spinal cord.
They began working with several different oily iodinated compounds. During animal studies in
1937-1938, Warren and Strain began referring to one of their new oily iodinized non water
soluble medical imaging agents as ethyl iodophenylundecylate, iophendylate, or “Pantopaque”.
Their animal studies indicated that the oily imaging compound was not absorbed by the body
and, just as with the already available oily non water soluble iodinized poppy seed oil, would
remain permanently encysted within the spinal column as a foreign body capable of triggering a
moderate inflammatory reaction with production of fibrosis.
The June 1941 doctoral thesis of T.B. Steinhausen, also at the University of Rochester and who
was working with Strain and Warren, a study funded for the Radiopaque Group by Eastman
Kodak Company, was entitled “An Experimental Study of Iodinated Compounds for Intrathecal
Use”. His work involved the use of rat and dog animal studies and a series of iodinated imaging
compounds. The potential contrast media of his thesis, Pantopaque, had been a product
synthesized by Plati in 1940.
Steinhausen began his thesis work by looking at the intrathecal injection effects of the already
available iodinized poppy seed oil (or Lipidol) in animal systems. It was his opinion that since
there had been no histological tissue information available with very little experimental studies
done regarding the nature of the foreign body reaction stimulated by the material when injected
into the human’s subarachnoid space that it should not be considered as a suitable product for
human use. He reviewed cat studies that demonstrated there was no absorption of the iodinized
poppy seed oil over time and that one of the cats had died following injection. He commented
that those researchers appeared to have used too much oil in that cat and that there was no way
that iodinized poppy seed oil should ever be considered as safe for human injection.
Steinhausen cited an earlier 1925 rabbit study using 17 rabbits with intrathecal Lipidol injection
that had a 47% mortality with pathological changes seen at autopsy. He referred to a 1938 study
by Mettier and Leake that had reported numerous untoward reactions secondary to the
introduction of iodinized poppy seed oil into the intrathecal space. For this reason, Steinhausen
stated that those authors had recommended that the oily iodinized poppy seed agent be used very
carefully and that every effort should be made to remove as much of the substance as possible
immediately from the intrathecal space following an imaging procedure.
He cited that in 1939, Brison had developed a technique that would aid in removal of iodinized
poppy seed oil from the subarachnoid space in order to help decrease the potential meningeal
irritation. This was a procedure that was similar to a procedure used at the Mayo Clinic. A 1941
study by Brown and Carr, following a 6 month instillation of retained intrathecal injection of
poppy seed oil, had found the oil emeshed or encysted within fibrous adhesions in the spinal
column amongst a thickened dura with chronic inflammation. The authors also had indicated
that there was a significant danger in injection of iodinated poppy seed oil within the spinal canal
One of the new iodinated compounds that was studied by Steinhausen in his thesis included ethyl
iophenylundecylate (“Plati’s iophendylate” or “Pantopaque”). This compound was reportedly
chosen by Steinhausen because it would break down more slowly than the other iodinized agents
that he examined. That property was one that he thought would help facilitate better
In a series using 3 dogs, Steinhausen’s Pantopaque produced meningeal irritation symptoms that
ranged from slight to severe. In another series of 15 dogs all injected intrathecally with 4 cc
Pantopaque, 27% were clinically free of meningeal irritation symptoms, 46% had symptoms of
slight meningeal irritation at 2-9 days, 20% had moderate symptoms at 3-9 days, 7% had severe
meningeal irritation symptoms beginning at day 4 and lasting 12 days, with 1 dog dying on the
24th day post-injection from a gangrenous terminal ileum.
In the dog studies, despite a lack of overt acute clinical symptoms, at time of termination of the
study and autopsy, the histological and gross meningeal changes were more severe in nature
then had been clinically suggested. Such significant changes included granulomatous foreign
body reactions with acute inflammation, polymorphonucleocytes (PMNs), phagocytes, and
fibroblasts with fibrous adhesions involving the nerve roots. The typical meningeal histological
changes seen at dog sacrifice at 1½ months post intrathecal injection included clear cystic areas,
dispersed throughout the spinal column, consistent with the presence of pockets of retained oily
injected material, surrounded by fibrosis, scattered macrophages and acute inflammation.
One of Steinhausen’s 15 Pantopaque dogs following injection had a persistent generalized
weakness of the legs with an inability to walk. This was the first time that this type of
generalized neurological reaction with lower limb paralysis had been reported by Steinhausen
associated with the use of any of the oily imaging compounds that he was testing.
For the purpose of comparison and using his model, Steinhausen injected a series of 9 dogs with
iodinized poppy seed oil. One dog died 24 hours after injection, with symptoms of moderate
meningeal irritation and subarachnoid hemorrhage. 80% of the dogs appeared to recover
clinically without remaining neurological symptoms. However, histologically, at time of
termination and autopsy, the histological and gross changes were similar to the changes that had
been seen with injections of ethyl iophenylundecyalate (Pantopaque) and the findings were more
severe than would have been suggested clinically. The primary difference for the iodinized
poppy seed oil, when compared to Pantopaque in the dog model, was that the iodinized poppy
seed oil appeared to produce greater number of clinical symptoms referable to the immediate
mechanical trauma of the injection. Histologically, the iodinized poppy seed oil resembled the
changes produced by Pantopaque, including moderate meningeal irritation with areas of oil
floating within the cord as encysted clusters, acute inflammation, fibroblasts, fibrous adhesions
and nerve root involvement.
Steinhausen’s research in dogs foreshadowed both the significant acute and long-term adverse
events that were reported in human patients following the intrathecal injection of Pantopaque for
myelography. In terms of the body of Steinhausen’s research, it is unclear why, in lieu of the
significant and severe animal safety findings produced by intrathecal administration of
Pantopaque, and the similarity to the harmful effects of iodinized poppy seed oil, that he would
have made the following 4 thesis conclusions regarding the apparent imaging “utility” of
Pantopaque for injection into humans for myelography:
1. Of the 26 ethyl esters of various iodinated organic acids, only ethyl
iodophenylundecylate seemed suitable for myelography.
2. Ethyl iodophenylundecylate appeared to be absorbed and as long as any of the
ester was present there was some pathological reaction about the compound.
3. Comparative tests with the standard iodized poppy seed oil showed a definite but
different pathological response which persisted indefinitely, since the compound was
very slowly absorbed.
4. Ethyl-w-(4-iodophenyl)-o-valerate, although not suitable for myelography, had
found clinical application as a contrast medium.
Despite the documentation by Steinhausen of the similarities and risks of Pantopaque when
compared to Lipidol in animal studies, despite the 1932 warning of the AMA regarding the
permanent long-term risks for introduction of foreign oily compounds into the spinal cord for
imaging, and despite the FDCA’s 1938 requirements for obtaining FDA’s premarketing
approval through demonstration of “safety” to the FDA before introducing an imaging agent for
use in U.S. patients, Dr. Warren took it upon himself to begin sending Pantopaque to U.S.
physicians to obtain their clinical input from imaging their own patients. The 1938 FDCA, as
seen with the later distribution in the U.S. of two million of investigational tablets of thalidomide
in the early 1960s, did no address the legal responsibility of a manufacturer to control the
distribution of “investigational drugs”, nor did it require obtaining informed patient consent or
obtaining an Investigational New Drug (IND) exemption from FDA.
On June 26, 1942, Dr. Rigler, University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis, MN, wrote to Dr.
Warren reporting his facility’s negative clinical experience with Pantopaque for imaging their
patients. Dr. Rigler did not provide “favorable” information to Dr. Warren regarding the
performance of Pantopaque in human patients. Dr. Rigler indicated that it was his opinion, as
well as his staff’s opinion, that the material mixed too readily with the spinal fluid and did not
improve imaging quality. He also indicated that he felt that the material was extremely difficult
to remove. Dr. Rigler wrote to Dr. Warren of the experiences of his staff with Pantopaque:
We have completed some myelographies with your Pantopaque which you were so
kind to send me, but for our purposes we have found it somewhat unsatisfactory.
Doctor Peterson, who has been doing this work here for some time and has had a
considerable experience with both air and lipidol, feels that the material mixes much
too readily with the spinal fluid so that a clear cut picture cannot be obtained.
Obviously, in a case of a block of any degree, it would be entirely satisfactory, but if
you are trying to demonstrated herniated disc or tumor without complete block or
arachnoiditis, the normal miscibility of the material would be most confusing.
Furthermore, he found it extremely difficult to remove. Large quantities of spinal
fluid were removed by the usual methods that we use in removing lipidol, but he was
I am sending you illustrations of two cases, one done with lipidol and the other with
Pantopaque, to give you some idea of the contrast, both the original films and the
amount of opaque material left after attempts at removal. You will note that in the
case of lipidol, using the maneuver of Kubik and Hampton, all except a very few
droplets were successfully removed whereas in the case of the Pantopaque most of it
From other documentation, Dr. Warren had also sent Pantopaque to physicians based at military
hospitals to encourage their use of the product for imaging military patients. Major R.G.
Spurling, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C., September 5, 1942, wrote to Dr. Warren in
1942 indicating that Pantopaque produced as many irritative symptoms as lipidol (poppy seed
oil) but it was absorbed more rapidly. When removed immediately post procedure, there had
been no more evidence of meningeal irritation than after a plain lumbar puncture. Major
Spurling felt 90-95% of the Pantopaque could be removed, with the remainder absorbed in two to
four weeks. Major Spurling had observed a patient of his that he had injected a 5cc dose of Dr.
Warren’s Pantopaque material intrathecally and concluded that approximately 50% (*2.5cc) had
been absorbed at the end of 7 months by serial x-ray. He also wrote:
When Pantopaque is removed immediately following the myelogram, there is no
more evidence of meningeal reaction than after plain lumbar puncture studies.
Furthermore, with ordinary care, it is possible in all cases to remove 90 to 95% of the
Pantopaque from the subarachnoid space. A few drops remaining cause no
demonstrable clinical signs and these droplets are absorbed within two to four
I have used Pantopaque in approximately one hundred clinical cases and I consider it
to be the most nearly ideal myelographic medium yet available.
September 16, 1942, eleven days after Dr. Spurling’s letter had been written to Dr. Warren, FDA
responded to an earlier September 4, 1942 letter received from Mr. J.T.Fuess of Chemical Sales
Division, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY, regarding the issue of Eastman Kodak’s
reported interstate deliveries of Pantopaque. The letter was written by the Assistant
Commissioner of the FDA, P.B. Dunbar.
This refers again to your letter of September 4 in reference to Pantopaque. With the
understanding that deliveries of this drug will be restricted exclusively to the military
forces,(*Underlining added for emphasis.), this Administration will not insist on
compliance with the requirements of section 505 of the Act dealing with new drugs.
Should you contemplate at any time entering into the ordinary commercial
distribution of Pantopaque, it will be expected that the precise requirements of
section 505 of the Act will be met. This will require the filing of a formal
application with proof of the safety of the drug. If in lieu of filing of a formal
application you elect to take advantage of section 505(i) and distribute the drug
solely for investigational use by qualified civilian experts, it will be expected that the
requirements of section 505(i), together with the regulations thereunder, will be met,
including the labeling of the product with the statement “Caution: New drug-
Limited by Federal law to investigational use.”
Up to the present time we have had inquiries regarding the use of Pantopaque only
from the Office of the Surgeon General of the War Department. Should a similar
request be received from medical authorities of the Navy our decision would be
However, in apparent violation of the “ military-only restrictions” stated in the FDA’s letter for
legal distribution of the drug to military facilities, December 1, 1942, Dr.s Steinhausen, Plati,
Furst, Dungan, Smith, Strain and Warren presented the results of their “Experimental and
Clinical Myeolography with Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate (Pantopaque)” at the 28th Meeting of
the Radiological Society of North America, a “civilian medical association”.
The data began with a presentation of results of intrathecal injection of 3-5cc in dogs. However,
the presentation concluded with an open “off label clinical discussion” of the use of their
“unapproved” contrast agent in three unusual clinical cases, with no mention of FDA’s
restriction to military-only use. There was no mention within the written abstract that product
availability had been “restricted” by FDA to military medical facilities, nor was there a
discussion that the “safety” for human use had never been submitted nor demonstrated to the
FDA for support of marketing the product for use in a US human population.
In terms of the sponsors’ Pantopaque presentation in the abstract, it also appeared that the authors
did not wish to accurately reflect the earlier Steinhausen dog data nor actual clinical experience
described in the 1942 letter from Dr. Rigler in terms of his facility’s “unfavorable” clinical
experience. There appears to have been a conscious decision in 1942 by the authors to disregard
Dr. Rigler’s clinical findings, an intentional disregard of the requirements that had been detailed
by the FDA, an intentional disregard of clinical ethical conduct, and failure to provide physicians
with complete and accurate, and truthful outcomes documented for Pantopaque through both
human and animal experience. The abstract misrepresents the scientific facts for Pantopaque as
known by the authors in 1942 by containing “misleading” statements about the long-term effects
of Pantopaque in the dog studies:
The new medium is more fluid than the iodinized oils and may be injected with ease.
With dogs intrathecal injection of 3-5 cc causes a transitory pleocytosis with cell
counts of 200 to 700 (mostly polys). Histological sections taken during or after this
transient reaction period show collection of the medium under the meninges with a
localized foreign body response around the small droplets. Consecutive
radiographs demonstrate that the preparation is rapidly absorbed at first, but more
slowly as the medium becomes fixed in position. Nevertheless, amounts of 3-5 cc
are absorbed nearly completely in the course of a year with little or no evidence
of residual reaction. Parallel experiments with iodized poppy seed oil in dogs show
somewhat more extensive pathology with little evidence of absorption. Clinically,
the new medium has been found to facilitate greatly myeolographic examination.
In addition to ease of injection, the preparation flows readily immediately after
injection and may be removed without difficulty. The entire examination,
including injection and removal, can be completed in fifteen minutes.
(*Bold added for emphasis)
B. Pantopaque, FDA and New Drug Approval (NDA)
November 4, 1943, Lafayette Pharmacal Company submitted NDA # 5-319 to FDA to obtain
the Agency’s premarketing approval of the imaging agent, Pantopaque, intended for
myelography in US population based on the support of safety. Prior to the NDA submission
there was an Agency memo of a telephone conversation that had occurred between Dr. Walton
VanWinkle, MD of FDA and Dr. Strain of University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Dr. Van
Winkle had requested that Dr. Strain provide animal safety data that could support the safety of
Lafayette Pharmacal’s NDA.
Dr. Strain stated that he had received copies of our correspondence with the
Lafayette Pharmacal Company with reference to the new drug application for
He stated that he would furnish them with data relative to animal experiments which
he had performed. He stated that he did not have very good figures on the acute
toxicity and felt that the obtaining of any adequate data with regard to intrathecal
injection would be difficult. He was told that he should submit all the data which he
could obtain and should certainly give us some sort of reliable figure for at least the
intravenous toxicity. He was also told that we would like to have some comparison
between chemical meningitis produced by pantopaque and the reactions produced by
lipidol. He stated that he felt he had sufficient data on this to answer our questions.
Dr. Strain said that Dr. Spurling was publishing a resume of his experience with this
preparation in the August issue of the Army Medical Bulletin. As soon as reprints
are available copies will be sent to us.
Apparently, trying to obtain a response to the Agency’s request for animal data, there followed a
February 22, 1943 letter to Dr. Warren authored by Dr. H. Hodge, Professor of Biochemistry and
Pharmacology, University of Rochester, regarding his acute toxicity studies of Pantopaque
conducted in the mouse model.
I have examined the acute toxicity of ethyl iodophenylundecylate (Pantopaque) and
have determined that the amount required to kill the average mouse is in the order of
4.6.gms of Pantopaque per kilogram of body weight of the mouse. The Pantopaque
administered intraperitoneally. These data indicate that Pantopaque is only
moderately toxic. It has about the same order of toxicity as sodium chloride has.
The appearance of hemorrhage in the intestine is unusual and probably represents a
specific toxic action of Pantopaque. However, the doses given the mice were
relatively huge as compared to the doses which will be employed clinically.
Dr. Hodge’s limited animal toxicity data had not developed a Lethal Dose 50 for intrathecal
pantopaque-( i.e. the amount of drug that will produce a 50% mortality in the animal species
being examined.) Dr. Hodge’s data indicted his estimated amount of Pantopaque injected
intraperitoneally that would be “lethal” to the average mouse. From later reports by Dr. Strain,
acute and chronic animal toxicity studies were conducted using Pantopaque at the University of
Rochester and the data supplied to Lafayette Pharmacal to forward on to the FDA in the NDA.
In the mid 1960s FDA found these same animal studies inadequate to support Pantopaque safety.
The documentation I have available for NDA 5-319 contains a 5 page Statement of Directions (
* identified as revised -1944) for physicians. This provides an initial example of Lafayette
Pharmacal’s proposed labeling for Pantopaque as the firm intended to marketed the imaging
agent to physicians in the U.S. in 1944.
The Pharmacology section stated that:
Pantopaque is absorbed in about 6 weeks from the peritoneal cavity of experimental
animals when injected at the level of 4 gms or less per kilogram, and is absorbed in
about 15 months from the subarachnoid space of dogs when administered in a dose
of 3 cc per animal. Because the medium is absorbed, there is associated a moderate
toxicity. Thus the dosage which causes death in 24 hours in 50 percent of
experimental animals (LD 50) has been found to be: 4.5 g/kg. When injected
intraperitoneally in mice, 19 g/kg. When injected into rats, and 2.1 g/kg. When
administered orally to rats. Death in these lower orders is accompanied by moderate
fatty degeneration of the liver and minor pathology of the kidney. No toxic
phenomena have been observed, however, following intrathecal injection into rabbits
and dogs even when massive doses have been administered. In agreement with this,
reports from several thousand myelograms (* bold added for emphasis) in which 2-
5 cc (* bold added for emphasis) of the medium has been used show that Pantopaque
is well tolerated even when left (* bold added for emphasis) in the spinal canal. In
those cases where the bulk of the contrast medium has been removed using the
technique of Kubik and Hampton(* bold added for emphasis) , the small amount of
material that is left is usually absorbed within 2 months. Where none of the medium
is removed the absorption proceeds at a variable rate depending on conditions within
the spinal canal, and may require years.
The Injection of Pantopaque section indicated:
A previously prepared 5 cc. Syringe containing 2-5 cc. of Pantopaque is then secured
to the adaptor of the needle, and the medium is injected slowly into the subarachnoid
space....When the Pantopaque has been injected, the syringe is detached from the
needle and the stylet replaced. A sterile gauze dressing is then placed over the
adaptor of the needle and the patient is ready for the examination.
In the 1944 proposed NDA draft labeling, Lafayette indicated to FDA that the proposed dose of
Pantopaque administered for myelography was “ 2-5 cc”.
Removal of Pantopaque section stated:
....It should be possible to remove 80 percent to 90 percent of the injected
Pantopaque without much difficulty.......
Side Effects section stated:
Clinical reports indicate that the incidence and the severity of the side effects
following Pantopaque myelography with aspiration of the medium is but slightly
greater than with ordinary lumbar puncture.(* bold added for emphasis) In 10-
30 percent of such cases there may be transient asymptomatic reactions consisting of
slight temperature elevation and increase of symptoms referable to a back condition.
When the medium is not removed, similar transient side effects (* bold added for
emphasis) occur with a slight elevation of temperature in a greater percent of
patients. To reduce the reactions to a minimum and to facilitate absorption of the
medium, the bulk of the Pantopaque should be removed by aspiration after
The Limitations section for the use of Pantopaque stated:
Pantopaque has not been studied adequately from a clinical stand point as a contrast
medium for body cavities other than the subarachnoid space. The limitations and
contraindications in other areas are not known.
The NDA also included information about a proposed dog study protocol, with no population
size provided,(* Appears to represent the proposed assay method for ensuring the batch quality
of the manufactured material prior to release of the material for sale by the University of
Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and prior to distribution by Lafayette Pharmacal.).
The protocol indicated that at least 5 dogs were to be injected in any one assay and at least 3 of
these 5 should not develop “fevers” greater than 1.5BC. lasting longer than 2 days. )
In the materials I have reviewed from Lafayette Pharmacal, there is a November 15, 1943
Radiopaque Group Report generated by Dr. W. Strain regarding the current status of the
radiopaque compounds that he was investigating at University of Rochester from August-
November 1943. This information was not apparently intended for submission to FDA within
the NDA. In terms of the agent Pantopaque and Dr. Strain’s update report:
The data relating to the physiological properties of Pantopaque have been submitted
to the Lafayette Pharmacal Inc. This material has also been discussed informally
with the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Strain continued his discussion regarding the new agent Atriopaque:
Physiological assays show that ATRIOPAQUE, a viscous liquid contrast medium,
has about the same toxicity as PANTOPAQUE and is absorbed at about the same
In his final discussion he stated:
During the period August-November, 1943, emphasis has been on the
physiological study of the four products designated as Pantopaque, Atriopaque,
Cholopaque and Gastopaque III. This has been carried out at the Medical School
with the assistance of W.R. Chaleaxe, MD and Leon Miller, Ph.D. both of whom
have assisted on a part time basis. In connection with this work it has been
necessary to have added supplies of the radiopaque compounds, and these have
been prepared either by Dr. Creseman, working in Dr. Allan’s laboratory, or by Dr.
Hartman. The work has been seriously handicapped by an acute shortage of rats
and rabbits; steps are being taken to assure a more satisfactory supply.....
The material relating to acute and chronic toxicity (* underlining added for
emphasis) has been collected for the Lafayette Pharmacal Inc. and submitted to
them under the following headings:
1. Provisional Specifications for Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate (PANTOPAQUE)
2. Acute Toxicity by Intraperitoneal Injection of Mice
3. Acute Toxicity by Intraperitoneal Injection in Rats
4. Acute Toxicity by Oral Administration in Rats
5. Acute Toxicity by Intravenous Administration to Dogs and Rabbits
6. Acute Toxicity by Intrapleural Injection in Dogs and Rabbits
7. Chronic Toxicity by Intraperitoneal Injection in Various Species
8. Chronic Toxicity by Intrathecal Injection in Dogs
9. Chronic Toxicity by Intrathecal Injection in Rabbits
10. Chronic Toxicity by Intra-Alveolar Injection in Dogs
11. Chronic Toxicity by Intra-Uterine Injection in Rabbits.
Copies of these have been filed with Mr. Fuess together with the material relating
to the chemical preparation and the clinical testing of PANTOPQUE which was
submitted to the Lafayette Pharmacal during the spring. A master copy has been
retained in the Department of Radiology.
When all these reports were available, they were discussed on October 20 with Dr.
Walton Van Winkle, Jr. at the Office of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr.
Van Winkle expressed the opinion that the drug had been adequately studied and
that as soon as the reports had been officially submitted to him, steps would be
taken to consult with the investigators who had used it. Van Winkle revealed
however, that the Food and Drug Administration was short-handed and that the
investigation may take time. In the course of this interview it developed that the
Food and Drug Administration would make no attempt to police the manufacture
of PANTOPAQUE since it will be made by one manufacturer and distributed
through one pharmaceutical house. He further disclosed that the Army and Navy
acted independently of the Food and Drug Administration and that any dealings
with the services were free of the restrictions which are imposed on new drugs for
November 18, 1943, Lafayette Pharmacal’s Mr. W.S. Bucke wrote to Dr. Van Winkle, Jr. of
FDA the following letter supplying the additional data obtained from Dr. Strain:
In reply to your request of November 9, 1943, we are pleased to enclose herewith
data suggested for circular setting forth the indications, dosage and
contraindications for PANTOPQUE in addition to the “Technique for
Myelography with Pantopaque”. With this additional data we hope that the
Department will be in a position to act upon our application.
January 21, 1944, Dr. Van Winkle of the FDA wrote back to Mr. W.S. Bucke. FDA had the
following concerns regarding approval of the Pantopaque premarketing application:
Further consideration has been given to your application under section 505 of the
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for the preparation of “Pantopaque”. From
the description of control procedures contained in the application, we are somewhat
in doubt as to the extent of the test to be made on each batch of the drug. In
discussing the preparation of the active ingredient, we note that certain physical
constants are mentioned and the drug is assayed biologically in dogs. It also appears
that a total iodide content determination is made. We assume that these
examinations are to be made either by the Eastman Kodak Company or by the
University of Rochester. It does not appear that you exert any chemical control over
the drug after you receive the raw materials. In our opinion, it will be highly
desirable for some further check to be made on the finished packaged product. We ,
of course, are not in the position to state what sort of a test is most desirable, but we
feel that the manufacturer should assure himself that the product, before distribution
in the channels of commerce, meets the criteria for quality and purity as specified in
this application. It is also suggested that in addition to the tests proposed in the
application, a test for free iodine is included. This is particularly desirable in that no
information has been furnished concerning the stability of this product, other than
the fact that the color changes on exposure to light.
The clinical reports which have been submitted leave one with the impression that a
rather large number of reactions of varying degrees of severity have been
observed (* Bold and underlining added for emphasis.), with the use of this
material. We are aware that some of these reactions may be accounted for by the
fact that the investigators failed to remove the material following examination of the
patient. However, on the basis of the reports contained in the application and
without additional data, we hesitate to permit this application to become effective
on the basis of safety for use (* Bold and underlining added for emphasis). It is
suggested that additional reports be obtained from some of the investigators
mentioned in the application to whom material has been sent but who have not
submitted reports. We would be particularly interested in having them state their
opinion of the safety of this preparation as compared to lipidol and to discuss the
nature and severity of the reactions observed by them as compared to those observed
when lipidol is used.
In our opinion, the proposed circular setting forth the indications and method of
administration of this product is not wholly satisfactory (* Bold and underlining
added for emphasis). Because the severity of reactions (* Bold and underlining
added for emphasis) observed in patients in whom the product is not removed after
injection, we feel that considerable stress (* bold for emphasis) should be laid upon
the necessity for removing this material on completion of the radiologic
examination. It might be well for the label of the product to bear a caution calling
this fact to the physician’s attention. The entire circular creates the impression
that reactions are infrequent and are of a minor character.(* Bold and
underlining for emphasis) The reports which have been submitted do not confirm
this impression. We suggest, therefore, that a more thorough discussion of the side
reactions and potential toxicity be given in the circular and that it be stressed that
these reactions appear almost uniformly if the product is not removed following
examination (* Bold and underlining for emphasis) of the patient. It is also
suggested that the circular state that the product is not intended for use in the
bronchi or in the uterine cavity.(* Bold and underlining for emphasis)
At the time you submit the additional data regarding controls and toxicity, you
should submit a draft of the proposed revised circular and labels.
February 5, 1944 Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. sent a NDA Supplement to FDA including physical
and chemical testing properties, and the biological assay method using dogs. The supplement
included the animal studies previously listed in the earlier Dr. Strain Radiopaque Group
Report summary. The data included the acute and chronic toxicity testing of injected
intraperitoneal experimental batches of Pantopaque in rats, mice, rabbits and dogs including
intra-uterine injection in rabbits with comparison to iodinized poppy seed oil; intrathecal
injections of rabbits; intra-alveolar injection of dogs, intrathecal injection of dogs. In the dog
studies, histological sections of dog spinal column continued to demonstrate encystation of the
retained iodinized oil- whether the substance was iodinized poppy seed oil or pantopaque. The
cysts of retained iodinized poppy seed oil were generally larger than the multiple small scattered
cysts of Pantopaque. There were acute toxicity studies with rats involving oral administration of
The supplemental NDA information included a clinical report generated by Dr. W. Hagman(?),
Neurosurgery Dept., University of Rochester School of Medicine. The clinical report involved
his experience with 30 patients undergoing imaging of a suspected spinal cord space displacing
mass (*tumor). The report consisted of an abstract that had been presented May 19, 1942 at the
New York Meeting of the Harvey Cushing Society. The abstract discussed the author’s
comparison of Pantopque to Lipidol.
February 15, 1944 Lafayette Pharmacal Inc.’s, Mr.W.S. Bucke, President, sent the following
firm reply letter to Dr. Van Winkle’s January 21, 1944 FDA letter requesting additional data
In reply to your letter of January 21, we are pleased to enclose here with what we
believe to answer all of the questions.
Additional to the data regarding controls and toxicity, we also submit a draft of a
proposed revised circular and labels.
The raw material tests are to be conducted in the School of Medicine and Chemistry,
in the University of Rochester, both before and after packaging, then arrangements
entered into with Eastman Kodak Company and Lafayette Pharmacal Inc.
With this additional data, we trust that the Department will be in a position to act
upon our application so that Pantopaque may be available to the civilian population.
Dr. Van Winkle also received a February 16, 1944 letter sent from the Army Service Forces,
Seventh Service Command, Neurosurgical Section, O’Reilly General Hospital, Major Francis
Murphy, Chief Neurosurgical Section. Dr. Murphy provided the Agency with his experiences
using Pantopaque compared to Lipidol:
At the request of Lt. Col. R. Glen Spurling of Walter Reed General Hospital and Dr.
William H. Strain of the School of Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester,
NY, I am writing you concerning my experience with Pantopaque.
....It is my belief that this substance is considerably less toxic than Lipidol although
we have not done spinal fluid examinations following the myelograms for the
determination of the cell count in the spinal fluid. There can be no doubt that it is
much more easily removed than Lipidol. The average residual amount in one series
was one-tenth of 1 cc when 3 cc’s of Pantopaque was used.
Generally speaking it may be said that Pantopaque is clinically less toxic and less
irritating than Lipidol and that it is much more easily removed from the spinal
subarachnoid space than Lipidol. It is our considered opinion that Pantopaque
should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in civilian life.
Dr. Van Winkle received a February 24, 1944 letter from Major Robert Robertson, Chief of
Neurosurgery, Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas supplying FDA with his
personal experience with use of Pantopaque:
Dr. William H. Strain, University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry,
has requested that a report be made to the Food and Drug Administration, New Drug
Section, regarding our experience in the use of Pantopaque.
Approximately 250 pantopaque myelograms have been done in the Neurosurgical
Section, Brooke General Hospital. 220 of this series have been recently reviewed in
1. It is easily injected. Usually it is readily recovered, almost, if not completely,
through an 18 gauge lumbar needle....As much a .7 to .8 cc out of 1 cc have been
demonstrated to be absorbed in the space of one month to 6 weeks. It is hoped that
some accurate figure will be determined in further review of these films.
2. Reactions of neural tissue and/or meninges have been rare to minimal. In several
cases there has been some transient nuchal rigidity of 2 to 4 days duration. Nine
cases, due to marked position changes, are known to have had the material enter the
cranial cavity....Of these nine known cases, one, an airplane pilot, developed
moderate headache which occurred after flying a few days following the Pantopaque
study....The other eight cases had no symptoms.
In one case in this series who had a Pantopaque study and operation for a herniated
nucleus pulposus, there developed an adhesive arachnoiditis (* bold added for
emphasis) in the lumbar region, the cause for which was undetermined. It is our
opinion that Pantopaque was not the primary cause of this reaction but it cannot be
3. The material shows good opacity and interpretations of the films are as simple as
that done with other opaque media.
March 24, 1944, Mr. Fuess of Eastman Kodak Company, Chemical Sales Staff, wrote to Mr.
Bucke of Lafayette Pharmacal Inc, regarding Kodak’s opinions for the proposed revisions of the
Pantopaque labeling. Lafayette Pharmacal had been revising the labeling at the request of FDA
to meet the Agency’s recommendations. Eastman Kodak continued to hold the Pantopaque
trademark and Lafayette Pharmacal was legally required to obtain Kodak’s prior approval of
Pantopaque product labeling:
I am returning the copies of the labels for Pantopaque which you forwarded to use
for approval in accordance with our agreement.
As pointed out in my previous letter, the chemical name is incorrectly spelled in both
places where it appears. As noted on the copy an “l” should be inserted between the
“y” and the “u”. Our Patent Department has approved these labels with this change.
We also forwarded the labels to the University for their approval. Dr. Ramsey
makes the following statement:
“In general I feel that the labels are satisfactory but I dislike the
inclusiong(sic) of the phrase “After Myelography, remove as much as
possible” as part of the label. This gives undue emphasis to the removal, an
emphasis that I do not believe is necessary beyond other points in the
Dr. Strain repeats this with a further comment as follows:
“The labels are satisfactory in every respect except for the typographical
errors that you noted, and the inclusion of the phrase “After Myelography,
remove as much as possible.: I feel that the letter should not be on the label.
In any event “Myelography” should not be capitalized.”
My comment on these statements is that my interpretation of the statements from the
Food and Drug Administration is that they feel that the inclusion of the phrase in
question is essential.
Upon correction of the typographical errors we approve the labels as submitted.
April 14, 1944 Pantopaque’s NDA application was approved for marketing in the U.S. by FDA
for the intended use for myelography. The product approval appears to have have occurred
without resolution of Dr. Van Winkle’s concerns regarding the “safety” of the product.
April- July , 1944, Dr. Strain’s periodic report on Radiopaque Compounds began:
Pantopaque: The several x-ray houses are offering Pantopaque for sale to physicians
in civilian life. To coordinate with the sales effort, an exhibit on Pantopaque
myelography has been prepared and a number of papers on Pantopaque Myelography
have been submitted for publication......
During the period April-July, 1944, the final phase of marketing Pantopaque was
completed. Assays were conducted for Lafayette Pharmacal, both in April and June,
and the product was announced in June at the annual meeting of the American
Medical Association in Chicago.
The problem of the policy of the University in marketing new products has received
consideration during this period.......
Prior to initiating the final steps for an agreement with Squibb, a discussion was held
at the Medical School on the general policy of the University. Those participating in
this discussion were : Dr. Whipple, Col. Warren,(* bold added for emphasis), Mr.
Thompson, Mr. Kappelman, Dr. Strain. The issue was whether the University
should send out material for corroborative clinical testing. The argument in favor of
such a policy was presented by Strain, who reasoned that the corroborative testing
was the most important part of the development of any new product and that it is
desirable to keep this in the hands of the University. The other four members of the
group felt that the risks of potential liability (* bold added for emphasis) of this
policy were so great that it could not be considered nevertheless they agreed that any
new products should be tested within the Medical School of the University of
Rochester. Since this conference, arrangements have progressed further with
Squibb so it is probable that an agreement will be made to submit Pantopaque
emulsion to clinical trial through this organization.
On May 9, 1944, U.S. Patent 2,348,231, covering Pantopaque and Gavitrast
was issued to Strain, Plati and Warren.(* Bold added for emphasis)
July-October, 1944 Radiopaque Group Compound Report of Dr. Strain indicted that the
exploitation of the civilian market for use of Pantopaque was well under way. An agreement in
early August had been concluded with E.R. Squibb & Son for them to study the “emulsion”
formulation of Pantopaque, but no progress had been made at that time due to the lack of suitable
equipment. An initial 8000 ampules of Pantopaque for civilian use had been sold during the
period July 1- August 18, with backorder of 4000 ampules.
As other applications of the medium develop the business will increase. The initial
skepticism of the x-ray houses on the size of the market have now changed to
October 1944 , Surgery , authored by Lt. Col. Spurling and Cpt. George Wyatt, Pantopaque,
Notes on Absorption following Myelography, described intrathecal injection of a Pantopaque
dose of 3.5 ccs, began:
Pantopaque has replaced Lipidol and the gases as the contrast medium for
myelography in the Army Medical Corps. The chief reason for the preference to
lipidol is that Pantopaque is absorbed (* bold added for emphasis) instead of
remaining as a persistent foreign substance in the subarachnoid space. Experience
has shown it to be nontoxic and no more irritating than lipidol, and its sharp
radiographic contrast and consequent clear delineation of pathologic anatomy affords
a definite superiority over the gases as does lipidol. In contrast to lipidol,
pantopaque is more fluid than viscous and therefore fills out the smaller spaces such
as dural nerve sheaths. It also is more easily removed following examination.(*
bold added for emphasis)
November 12, 1945, Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. sent a coverletter to Dr. Merrick of FDA
requesting to amended the batch specifications for Pantopaque in their NDA 5-319. In the
original provisional specifications for Pantopaque and ethyl iodophenylundecylate, the
manufacturing control of the quality of the product had been verified by measurement of
physical constants, chemical analyses, and an intrathecal biological assay using injection of
dogs. All these controls for manufacturing had been at the recommendations given to Lafayette
Pharmacal from Dr. William H. Strain and his associates in Radiology, School of Medicine and
Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, who had been responsible for the
development and production of the product. Lafayette’s letter to the NDA contained the
Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:47 PM
We have been advised by Dr. Strain that in his opinion, the intrathecal assay in dogs
is meaningless “procedure” and does not give critical information for the control of
the quality of the product.. Accordingly, in submitting the amended specifications,
the intrathecal assay has been eliminated,(* bold added for emphasis), and, to
compensate for this, the range of each physical and chemical constant has been
We understand from Dr. Strain that the proposed changes have been discussed with
Dr. Walton Van Winkle, Jr., of your staff......
April-October 1946 Report on Radiopaque Compounds by Dr. Strain, under his discussion of
Pantopaque, Dr. Strain indicated that “they” were still working through Lafayette Pharmacal,
with some progress made in promotion of clinical indications for Pantopaque beyond
myelography.(* Bold added for emphasis.). A number of clinical investigators had been
supplied with Pantopaque by Lafayette Pharmacal to conduct their own clinical investigations of
indications other than myelography. For example, studies were underway at the University of
Pennsylvania for injecting Pantopaque into facial sinuses for radiological visualization, as well as
utero-tubography, and nerve delineation. Pantopaque was also being investigated for uterotubography
imaging at University of California Hospital, and Michael Reese Hospital in
Dr. Strain also wrote regarding the new formulation “Emulsion” of Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate
Through correspondence with a number of surgeons and radiologists it was possible
to arouse interest in the emulsion (* bold added for emphasis) of ethyl
iodophenylundecylate in some six centers. The logical application of the medium
appears to be bronchoscopy, (* bold added for emphasis) and, because of this, the
program for the study of the emulsion overlaps that for the study of new fields for
Pantopaque. With either there is a problem of developing new techniques for the
visualization of the bronchial passages, and currently conditions are not too
favorable for such studies; most of the centers of thoracic surgery are in a state of
flux as a result of the return of veterans.....
The most progressive results have been obtained at the University of Cincinnati
School of Medicine where Dr. Francis McGrath has had a very satisfactory results in
the visualization of empyema cavities, and some progress in applying the medium to
bronchoscopy. As a result of correspondence and discussion with Dr. McGrath the
technique of the bronchogram in dogs has been revised carefully, and a procedure
using a 90% emulsion worked out. The results obtained with the more concentrated
and more viscous medium are uniformly good.
Applications of the emulsion other than to problems of thoracic surgery have not
been as favorable. In uretero-tubography (* bold added for emphasis) there seems
to be a high incidence of transient low-grade discomfort, and in the visualization of
the renal bladder there does not seem to be much interest.
During the early part of June, Dr. Strain had a visit to the Montreal Neurological Institute to
discuss a number of “problems” that had occurred relating to their utilization of
Pantopaque. Later in June, he made a trip to E.R. Squibb & Sons to discuss the possibility of
transferring the Radiopaque Project to their Institute of Medical Research. From abroad, Dr.
Strain had learned that Pantopaque was being manufactured in England by Glaxo and sold under
the name “Myodil”. As a counter measure to this, a Swedish physician delegation studying
medical education in the U.S. had been furnished by him with a moderate supply of US produced
Pantopaque to distribute when back in Sweden.
December 21, 1950, an untitled memo(?) was issued by Kodak’s Color Control Department
regarding control of the manufacturing of Pantopaque (000190):
Because of complaints on certain lots of pantopaque,(*bold and italics emphasis
added), it was decided that a more thorough investigation of the compound should be
made, aided by the infared spectrophotometer, to see if the cause of the trouble can be
found. The “trouble” with the pantopaque was identified to be the presence of 5%
iodophenylundecanoic acid rather than 0.9% (* bold emphasis added). A method
was then developed using titration with alcoholic potassium hydroxide to determine
the percent of iodophenylundecanoic acid.
In terms of the active “off-label” conductance of clinical research for a new emulsion formulation
by Lafayette Pharmacal, March 20, 1950 G.C. Mees, Vice President, Distillation Products
Industries, a Kodak Company, wrote to W.S. Bucke, President, Lafayette Pharmacal, the
following regarding their business relationship:
We are writing to confirm the understanding reached at our recent meeting with
respect to an arrangement for conducting further work in the preparation and testing
of emulsions of Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate in the drug and pharmaceutical field.
As you know, some work along this line has been done under previous arrangements
with the University of Rochester and with E.R. Squibb and Sons but these
arrangements are no longer active. (* bold added for emphasis) We are both
desirous that such work shall not be dropped but rather shall be continued on the
We will supply to you information available to us pertaining to this problem and
which shall have been supplied to us by the University of Rochester and E.R. Squibb
and Sons under the previous arrangements hereinabove mentioned.
We will furnish to you, on a no-charge basis, such amounts ( not to exceed a total of
25 kilon) of Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate as you shall require for carrying on the
work contemplated by this letter.
You will prepare emulsions of such Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate in any way you may
see fit and supply such emulsions to one of your experts qualified by scientific
training and experience to investigate their safety as drugs and you will arrange with
such experts to conduct clinical work necessary to establish whether or not such
emulsions are suitable for use, and useful, as drugs, all in accordance with the
pertinent provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and regulations
In the event such work shows satisfactory results, you will prepare a “New Drug
Application”, or other appropriate application, for submission to the Federal Food
and Drug Administration in accordance with the New Drug provisions of the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and seek, by proper means, to secure the approval of
We are advised by you that a “New Drug Application” has been submitted with
reference to Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate as such, and that this New Drug
Application has become effective, but that another “New Drug Application”, or
perhaps an amendment to the earlier application, may be required in connection with
the emulsions of Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate which you will prepare. You
accordingly agree that such emulsions will not be introduced or delivered for
introduction into commerce by you except in accordance with the pertinent
provisions of the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act relating to new drugs, to
wit, Section 505 and the regulation promulgated thereunder.
It is further understood and agreed that our company assumes no responsibility
whatsoever with respect to this arrangement except to supply you with the aboveindicated
amounts of Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate.
You agree that the “Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate” will be referred to and described
only by that name and that no trade-mark of our company will be used in any way in
connection with your activities under the arrangement, except with the express
written consent of our company.
This letter serves to document that the University of Rochester, School of Medicine and
Dentistry and Dr. Strain were no longer actively involved with the manufacturing, investigation
and promotion of Pantopaque in the U.S.. Significantly, the change in testing site was a potential
significant “alteration” in the batch release criteria that had been specified within the NDA for
manufacturing product control and quality oversight. Such a change could potentially have been
viewed by FDA, if they were not informed, as having a potential impact on the “safety” of the
product sold by Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. and approved for marketing under NDA#5-319. Also,
Lafayette Pharmacal and Kodak’s Distillation Products Industries (DPI) demonstrated in the
letter that they had an awareness of need to appear to meet the requirements of the FDCA for
conducting clinical research as well as the need to obtain clearance from FDA for the legal
marketing of the Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate emulsion formulation.
In the 1950 letter, Mr. Mees of Kodak’s Distillation Products Industries attempted to assign all
responsibility for compliance, manufacturing and fulfillment of FDCA’s requirements onto
Lafayette Pharmacal. The intent of Kodak’s letter appeared to create “legal distance”for Kodak
and Kodak’s Distillation Products Industries from any potentially illegal ramifications for actions
that may result from Lafayette’s distribution of the emulsion formulation within the U.S.
However, Mr. Mees also indicated that his firm wished to take steps to facilitate future
marketing, investigation and development of the product.
1953 Lafayette Pharmacal Inc.’s Pantopaque labeling as it appeared in The American Journal of
Roentgenology, Radium Therapy and Nuclear Medicine, December 3, 1953, indicated a usual
Pantopaque myelographic study employed injection of 6 or 9 cc of contrast media.
(* The 1944 draft labeling and all information provided to FDA in the NDA for Pantopaque
recommended a myelography dose of “2-5" cc. )
Lafayette Pharmacal’s labeling continued to make no reference to potential serious acute or longterm
consequences associated with intrathecal injection of Pantopaque which had been the
expressed concern of FDA’s reviewer, Dr. Van Winkle, for injection of a dose of 2-5 cc, nor did
the labeling appear to emphasize the need to remove all the material following imaging. The
labeling emphasized injecting a larger dose of Pantopaque for imaging of the spinal column then
had been provided to FDA in NDA 5-319 (i.e. 2-5 cc) with the availability of “multiple size”
The labeling stated:
The contrast medium of choice now available in 3 sizes.
( 3 cc, 6cc, 12cc).
(*Note: In terms of the favorable reported clinical experience in the military imaging
populations, Major Spurling’s study that appeared in Surgery October 1944 had indicated an
injected Pantopaque dose of 3.5 cc; Major Murphy reported positive results with an injected
dose of 1-3 cc of Pantopaque.)
The labeling also had the following information regarding product utility:
These two radiographs of the same patient demonstrate the bulging of the annulus
fibrosous during hyperextension and flexion, respectively, of the vertebral column.
30 cc of Pantopaque contrast medium was used. Note how this technique permits
visualization of the posterior surface of the vertebral canal.
“PANTOPAQUE” is the registered trademark under which all leading x-ray dealers
supply the compound ethyl iodophenylundecylate, which is synthesized by the
Research Laboratories of Eastman Kodak Company and prepared as the
myelographic contrast medium Iophendylate Injection, U.S.P., by Lafayette
Pharmacal Inc. The trademark serves to indicate to the radiologist continuity of
experience in the manufacture of this medium.
C. A New Phase of “Pantopaque” Development
Pantopaque II or IND1-161 and NDA16-377
Strengthening of the drug provisions of the 1938 Act had been the focus of Senate hearings held
in June 1960. These hearings chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver of the Subcommittee on
Antitrust and Monopoly of the Committee on the Judiciary, resulted in S.3815. This bill was
aimed to protect the public health by instituting certain manufacturing practices, expanding
antibiotic certification to all antibiotics, and by other measures.
During the Kefauver hearings, FDA had received an NDA for marketing of Kevadon, the brand
of thalidomide that the William Merrell Company wanted to market in the U.S. Despite ongoing
pressure by the firm, medical officer Frances Kelsey refused to allow the NDA to become
effective because of insufficient safety data. By 1962 thalidomide’s horrifying effects on
newborns had become known. Even though Kevadon was not approved for marketing, Merrell
had been able to distribute over two million tablets for “investigational use”, a use which the
FDA’s regulations and laws had left unchecked. For her efforts, Dr. Kelsey received the
President’s Distinguished Federal Civilian Service Award in 1962, the highest civilian honor
available to a government employee.
As a result of the narrowly avoided tragedy, Senator Kefauver re-introduced his bill. On October
10, President Kennedy signed the Drug Amendments of 1962, also known as the Kefauver-
Harris Amendments. These amendments required drug manufacturers to prove to the FDA that
their products were both safe and effective prior to marketing. They also gave FDA control over
prescription drug advertising. The Drug Amendments addressed the use of drugs in clinical
trials, including requirement for informed consent by subjects and obtaining an Investigational
New Drug (IND) exemption from FDA. FDA was now required to be provided with full details
of drug clinical investigations, including drug distribution, and IND clinical studies had to be
based on previous animal investigations that could assure “safety”.
The FDA’s National Center For Drug Analysis (NCDA) opened in St Louis, Missouri, in July
1967 began to conduct large scale tests of drug products. Prior to this, NCDA had been part of
the Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences in FDA’s Bureau of Science. In its first year, the
NCDA examined over 7,000 samples. Therefore, FDA, since the approval of NDA5-319, had
begun to develop the Agency’s evaluation capabilities for examining of the quality of drug
products that were to be manufactured and sold in the US.
November 20, 1964 there was an interagency memo from Mr. Hagan, Division of Toxicological
Evaluation (DTE) to Medical Officer Dr. Frances O Kelsy (* bold added for emphasis),
Division of New Drugs (DND) regarding Lafayette Pharmacal Inc.’s IND 1-161
(Investigational New Drug exemption) to legally begin to conduct human clinical trials for
support of safety and efficacy for Pantopaque II to obtain the Agency’s approval for marketing of
a 15% (iodine content) Pantopaque (Pantopaque II). There was an Agency memo that suggested
Lafayette Pharmacal had begun interacting with FDA prior to November 1964 to obtain future
approval of “Pantopaque II”. The changes in the FDCA had greatly modified the route for
Pantopaque II to reach the U.S. market when compared to the World War II 1944-era
“Pantopaque I” approval based only on “safety” and culled reports of positive physician
experience with military patients.
Mr. Hagan of FDA’s DTE characterized that each 20 ml of Pantopaque II product submitted to
FDA for the IND contained “10 ml Iophendylate and 10 ml Ethylphenylundecanoate”, as an
absorbable iodinized fatty acid compound of low viscosity intended for myelography. Lafayette
Pharmacal was now requesting to substitute a material yielding a “15% iodine” content for the
current “30% iodine” content Pantopaque I material. FDA’s reviewers were referred by
Lafayette Pharmacal back to the original NDA to review animal toxicity data submitted for the
Agency’s approval of “safety” of Pantopaque in NDA 5-319.
Mr Hagan as part of the Agency’s toxicological evaluation reviewed the animal toxicity data for
Pantopaque submitted in Lafayette Pharmacal’s NDA 5-319. He wrote of his major concerns
regarding the production of “ fever” induced by injection during animal studies and how the
fever appeared to be related to the pyrogenicity of the product. He was also under the impression
from sources outside Lafayette Pharmacal that the iophenydylate (30%) intrathecal dosage for
myelography was 6-12 cc. Mr Hagan determined that Pantopaque 30% had produced a
significant fever rise during the NDA’s when injected into humans during the original clinical
studies. To better characterize the deficiencies in Pantopaque’s animal toxicity data in the
NDA#5-319 and what would now be required in the NDA, he wrote:
Despite the 20-years history of use of this drug, we should have acute toxicity data in
perhaps dogs or rabbits in which the 15% material is administered by intrathecal
administration. Effort should be made to relate the use levels to that causing death in
toxicity studies. Directions contraindicate repeat of dosage within 10 days. We
suggest a repeat of 3 times a therapeutic intrathecal dose in animals after a 10-day
interval. If effects result then a repeat of the foregoing procedure should be made at
a lower dosage.
January 26, 1966, attorney Bradshaw Mintener wrote Mr. J. Hauser, FDA, Bureau of Medicine,
regarding IND#1-161 submitted by his client Lafayette Pharmacal. He indicated that Lafayette
Pharmacal had previously filed IND#1-161 on June 6, 1963 to market Pantopaque with 15%
iodine. He referenced the NDA that had approved Pantopaque (30%) in 1944, the comparison
of the new Pantopaque product, and the firm’s desire to now withdraw IND1-161 and submit the
marketing application as a supplement to NDA5-319:
In the course of years, because of the trend toward using greater volumes (* bold
and italics added for emphasis) of Pantopaque, and because the great density even
within the usual amounts of Pantopaque 30% may obscure the more subtle shades of
the spectrum of density which one uses to detect the presence of compressive lesions
involving the subarachnoid space, many neurosurgeons and radiologists have
requested a less dense material.
Accordingly, the iodination of ethyl phenyl undecanoate was decreased to give a
15% iodinated Pantopaque. This gives a corresponding decrease in specific gravity
to 1.09, as compared to 1.25 for the standard 30%.
An IND application-#1161 and dated June 6, 1963 was filed with the Food and Drug
Administration covering the 15% product and supplemental information was
subsequently submitted to the Department as well as reports of clinical studies.
In view of the fact that the 15% product is the same as the 30%, save for the
iodinization producing a product with less iodine content, Lafayette Pharmacal
would like to submit this supplemental application to their NDA 5319 and recall
their IND application 1161, if this is necessary....(* bold and italics added for
Pantopaque is distributed by seven major x-ray companies as well as Lafayette
Pharmacal, Inc. and enclosed you will find labeling for all distributors.
The study performed at the Neurological Institute was exhibited in the scientific
section of the American Neurological Association Meeting, held June 14-16, 1965 in
March 17, 1996 Mr. W, S, Bucke, President of Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. wrote to Dr. Frances
O. Kelsey, Chief of Investigational Drug Branch, Division of New Drugs regarding the status of
Thank you very much for the courtisies extended during my recent visit to your
office and this will confirm our discussion relative to your letter of February 17,
The error in the IND number (* bold added for emphasis) occurred in the office of
Mr. Bradshaw Mintener in his letter of January 26, 1966 addressed to Mr. Julius
Referring to paragraph #3 of your letter of February 17, 1966, we do not wish to
discontinue our study under Exemption (IND 1161), our reason being that on the
suggestion of Mr. Julius Hauser, Bureau of Medicine, we have filed a supplemental
application. This was filed by us by Mr. Bradshaw Mintener and we are awaiting
your opinion on this supplemental application.
FDA did not accept the proposal of Lafayette to submit Pantopaque II as a supplement to NDA
5-319 and withdraw IND 1161 for obtaining clinical data for inclusion in a new NDA. Dr.
Kelsey and her staff had determined that FDA’s marketing approval of Pantopaque II was to
require the submission of a separate new NDA to FDA by Lafayette Pharmacal.
FDA’s reviewer Elton Herman, MD prepared a 4/29/1966 summary of NDA 16-377 sponsored
by Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. regarding the approval of Pantopaque II (Iophendylate Injection).
The current intrathecal dose recommendation listed was still the 2-5 cc dose injected into the
subarachnoid space of NDA5-319. The general category of the drug was intended as a
diagnostic agent for myelography, indicated to be particularly satisfactory for study of the lumbar
region. The structural formula was of a mixture of isomeric ethyl esters. Pharmacology
information included a report dated January 19, 1962 of a study conducted at Hazleton
Laboratories regarding acute intraperitoneal injection in 8 rats and acute intramuscular irritation
study in 2 rabbits. He concluded:
DTE review of 11/20/64 requested “acute toxicity data in perhaps dogs or rabbits in
which the 15% material is administered by intrathecal administration,” as well as
repeat dosage after 10 days using 3 x the therapeutic dosage; apparently none of
these were ever performed and no further explanation is provided.
One of the investigators reported under clinical studies performed preliminary dog
work with one control dog given 30% Pantopaque intrathecally and two given 15%;
amount given is not stated but it was apparently sufficient to perform an adequate
myelogram. Baseline CSF studies were done and repeated after 6 weeks
(Pantopaque was left in the subarachnoid space during this period), and the dogs
were sacrificed and autopsied. Examination of one of the 15% dogs could not be
performed as there was “an interval between sacrifice and post-mortem in which
major autolysis took place.” Both 15% dogs, on the 6-week post-myelographic CSF
test, showed “ modest protein elevation” and “slight inflammatory response with
increase in WBC, similar to the response of the original dog work” utilizing 30%.
Histology report on the 30% dog is reported as “O.K. No histologic abnormality”
and on the 15% dog as “Histology normal.” It is stated that evaluations were
“comparable; if anything, the 15% Pantopaque dog showed less inflammatory
response in the form of lymphocytic and polymorphonuclear cell infiltration.” As
the original 30% product is commercially available and the new preparation is less
concentrated than it, “it was felt that no further laboratory work need be done.”
VI. Clinical studies:
No case reports are included from any investigator in either the NDA or IND. IND
1161 filed for this product contains statements of investigation and brief protocols
for study from 5 investigators or groups, all of whom appear to have good
credentials; for 3 of these, there is no follow-up, report, summary, or result of any
type given. Of a fourth investigator, it was later said in a letter from the firm that he,
“Due to pressing duties,....did not enter into any investigational work.”
The fifth group of investigators, Drs. E. Ralph Heinz, Ray A. Brinker, and Juan M.
Taveras, from the Neurological Institute, New York (the same group which
performed the above-described pharmacologic 3-dog study), have also not submitted
any case reports but they have sent in a brief summary of 117 patients studies
between 8/1/63 and 5/31/64; of these, approximately half received 15% or 221/2% (
equal volumes of 15% and 30%) Pantopaque and were compared to the remainder in
whom only 30% was used. The first 20 patients were “checked clinically for signs
of meningeal irritation, fever, or other untoward effect following instillation of the
lesser concentration, and no abnormality was found. Subsequently, additional
patients have been added without any detectable objective or subjective
abnormality....” The authors conclude that they “have been better able to visualize
the spinal cord utilizing the less concentrated contrast, as well as visualize small
differences in density when external compression of the subarachnoid space is
present. The authors feel that this less concentrated Pantopaque offers definite
advantages over the conventional 30% Pantopaque. However, they offer no
objective confirmation of these claims, no individual case reports, and no criteria by
which they measure “better” visualization or “small differences” in density.
Discussion seems completely superfluous at this point, except to state that , save for
omission of a section describing “Technique for Large Volume Dynamic
Myelography” and the obvious changes in the portion dealing with chemical and
physical characteristics so as to describe the 15% preparation, the labeling exactly
reproduces that last approved in 1960 for 30% Pantopaque.
The application is incomplete (* underlining added for emphasis) under section
505(b)(1), in regard to clinical studies, because of failure to report in full
investigations that have been made to show whether or not the drug is safe for use
and effective in use, failure to include adequate case reports concerning each subject
given the drug or employed as a control, and failure to include substantial evidence
consisting of adequate and well-controlled investigations.
Final comment on labeling will be reserved until the application is complete in its
At the bottom of the reviewer’s report there is also a handwritten note from A. Ruskin dated
Should pharmacologic work be complete before any further human tests? Is there an
Reviewer E. Herman wrote a reply dated 5/5:
There is an IND with reports as stated above.
There was then an FDA Intra-Administrative Referral issued 5/5/66 to Investigational Drug
Branch (IDB), Division of Toxicological Evaluation (DTE) from E. Herman, MD of the Medical
This NDA will be incomplete by letters that should issue within several weeks. In
accordance with question raised by Dr. Ruskin, do you feel pharmacologic work
should be completed before any further human tests?
DTE review of 11/20/64 did request “acute toxicity data in perhaps dogs or rabbits,”
but apparently never performed.
A.R. Casola, Ph.D., FDA’s Manufacturing Control Branch (MCB) authored a June 15, 1966
draft of controls portion of letter intended for Lafayette Pharmacal regarding NDA 16-377. The
reviewer determined that the application was “incomplete”. The NDA failed, among many other
things, to provide adequate information regarding the qualifications, educational background
and experience of the technical and professional personnel responsible for assuring that the drug
had the safety, quality and purity it purported. The applicant was also requested to submit
information regarding the facilities and personnel for Taylor Pharmacal Co., Distillation
Products Industries and for Analytical Chemists. The applicant had not submitted to FDA the
required samples for agency evaluation and had not submitted the draft labeling required for all
October 3, 1966, FDA’s reviewer James E.Wilson, Ph.D., wrote the agency’s pharmacological
review that also found the NDA incomplete pharmacologically. The new drug name was
Pantopaque II and the recommended injection dose for myelography was “2-5 cc”. The
following was his evaluation of the NDA:
Pantopaque II is a 1:1 (v/v) mixture of iophenylate (Pantopaque) and ethyl
phenylundecanote. Iophenylate has been on the market for twenty years but deaths
have been attributed to its use. Recently, Swartz (New England J. Med. 272, 898-
902, 1965) cites a case report of a 61 year old woman who died of obliterative
arachnoiditis (*bold added for emphasis) with hydrocephalus one year after cervical
myelography using iophenylate. Whether the response was a direct result of
chemical irritation or a form of hypersensitivity could not be ascertained.
In its review (11/20/64) of IND 1161, Pantopaque 15%, DTE recommended that
acute toxicity tests be performed in either the rabbit or dog using single
administration of iophenylate or the 1:1 mixture have been performed by workers at
the Neurological Institute (New York). These investigators examined the
cerebrospinal fluid and histologic sections of the cerebrospinal axis. The test
however, needs repeating since the dosage level (approximated at 0.1 ml. or gm/kg)
was within the human therapeutic range (2-5 ml)(*bold added for emphasis) and did
not approach toxicity or lethality. Further, the number of animals used (only 2
autopsies) was too small for a valid evaluation.
Some attention should be devoted by the applicant to the development of a
hypersensitivity towards the drug. A suggested test is the intrathecal administration
of the drug to dogs with a subsequent challenge 2-3 weeks later.
The application is considered incomplete.
October 21, 1964, from a memo to the NDA record by W. Gyarfas, MD, Mr. Mintener, without
an appointment, visited the FDA offices to inquire about the status of NDA 16-377 and to
resubmit information from the Neurological Toxicity Studies (*information that had been
previously submitted by Lafayette within both the IND and the NDA). He also inquired of Dr.
Gyarfas what would be required for Lafayette to answer the agency’s letter of October 11, 1966
that had again requested the submission of an over-due progress report of the status of the
The inadequacies of the NDA were reviewed with Mr. Mintener, who seemed
unprepared to discuss the issues, and Mr. Mintener kept making references to
“Julius” and “old timers”. Mr. Mintener indicted that he would inform his client
Lafayette Pharmacal how to bring their IND up-to-date and recommend that they
complete their NDA.
May 4, 1967, Dr. Gyarfas again recorded that he was visited, but this time by Mr. Bucke of
Lafayette, who also visited the FDA offices without an appointment to ask questions regarding
the application. Mr Bucke inquired about the ability to use foreign clinical investigators. He
was informed that foreign investigators would also be required to sign FD Form 1573 and that
their data would also be carefully evaluated by FDA.
Safety Animal Studies for Pantopaque I and II
September 7, 1967, Hazelton Laboratories completed an Acute Intrathecal Toxicity Study-Rabbits
involving 16 rabbits using Pantopaque II that were followed for 14 days. The study data was
submitted to Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. The summary of the study went as followed:
Pantopaque II was evaluated for acute intrathecal toxicity by intraspinal injection to
groups of adult albino rabbits (* 4 groups of 4 rabbits each) at graded dosage levels
ranging from 0.562 to 316 g/kg of body weight. Partial mortality at the two lower
levels and total mortality at the two higher levels were produced. The mortality
pattern did not permit an accurate calculation of the acute intrathecal LD50, but it is
estimated to be in the order of 0.5 g/kg of body weight.
Principal Toxic Effects Observations noted during the 14-day period consisted of the
following: Slight ataxia at the four-hour observation period only in all animals at the
lowest level and in two animals at the 1.0 g/kg level, rapid respiration prior to death
in one animal at the 1.78 g/kg level, limited use of the hindquarters in two animals,
and terminal body weight loss in all animals at the lowest level; partial mortality at
the two lower levels and total mortality at the two higher levels.
November 13, 1967 Hazelton Laboratories submitted Acute Intrathecal Toxicity- Dogs
Pantopaque II to Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. The investigation had been conducted from July 27,
1967 through September 6, 1967. The summary of the data was as follows:
Single intraspinal doses of the test material, Pantopaque II, were administered to four
groups of two dogs each, at levels of 0.316, 0.562, 1.00, and 1.78 g/kg, respectively.
The dogs were observed for 14 to 20 days after dosing and then sacrificed.
All dogs showed signs of muscular weakness and incoordination following dose
administration, with particular loss of motor control of the hindlimbs. The degree of
this motor incoordination did not appear to be related to the dose level.(*
underlinging added for emphasis) All animals slowly returned to normal or near
normal appearance during the observation period except one low level animal which
died after two days, apparently from an injury sustained during injection of the
Gross necropsies after sacrifice revealed the presence of oily substance resembling
the test material in the cerebro-spinal fluid of all but two animals. Connective tissue
lesions in the area of the injection were present in about half the animals.
The dog that died had received the lowest dose Pantopaque II dose, Group No. 1, (0.316 g/kg)
and had appeared normal on the day of dosing. (*Two dogs were used in each of the 4 dose
groups.) On day 2, its behavior became vicious and it was found dead on day 3. The other
animal in the low dose group appeared normal for several days following dosing. However, on
the day 4, the animal appeared uncoordinated and became partially paralyzed in the hindlimbs.
The dog’s condition returned to normal by day 8, but it continued to lose weight throughout the
study until termination.
For the two dogs in the next dose group, Group No. 2, (0.562 g/kg), both became markedly
uncoordinated with partial paralysis in the hindlimbs. Their conditions gradually improved until
Group No. 3 dogs (1.00g/kg) both exhibited signs of muscular weakness and poor coordination
following dosing. Partial paralysis of the hindlimbs were apparent in both and improved in one
animal. A similar picture occurred in the highest dose group, Group No. 4, (1.78 g/kg), with
initial muscular weakness, lack of coordination and slow improvement until time of sacrifice.
Histologically, all animals in Groups No. 2 and 3 had connective tissue lesions of varying
severity found at the location of injection. The dog in Group No. 1, the lowest dose group, that
died had hemorrhagic and purulent-appearing areas at the base of the medulla and between the
meninges and the spinal cord. The spleen of this animal was enlarged to twice normal size. For
all dogs, at autopsy, traces of oily substance, varying in amount approximately proportional to
the administered dose level, were found within the cerebrospinal fluid.
Almost two years later, February 7, 1969, Hazelton Laboratories completed the study 15-Week
Intrathecal Toxicity Study- Dogs which was a comparison of Pantopaque I and Pantopaque II.
The data was submitted to Kodak’s Distillation Products Industries, Rochester, NY, not to
Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc as had been done with the earlier studies. The purpose of the study was
to evaluate the long-term effects of Pantopaque II when compared to Pantopaque I after being left
within the spinal column of dogs. Pantopaque I was a lot that had been received by Hazelton
Laboratories from Lafayette Pharmacal on November 27, 1967, Lot No. 129666, and appears that
it may have been a production lot. The purity was “assumed” to be 100%.
Pantopaque II was identified as ethyl phenylundecyclate combined with 15% organically bound
iodine ( Lots No 91347 and No. 91374), and appears that it was an experimental product. It was
received July 24, 1967 and November 27, 1967 from Lafayette Pharmacal. The purity also was
“assumed” to be 100%.
The study used 24 purebred Walker hounds, divided into 2 dosage groups (0.014 ml/kg) or (0.14
ml/kg) of either Pantopaque I or II compounds, for a total of 4 groups. The test material was
administered by a single injection into the cisterna magna, with all dogs observed for 15 weeks.
Full spine lateral x-rays were made for each dog following injection and at regular intervals of 30
and 60 minutes, 3, 24, and 48 hours, and one to two weeks thereafter. Only the brain and spinal
cord were examined microscopically.
Five animals that received Pantopaque II at 0.14 ml/kg showed a marked increase in leukocyte
counts at 24 hours. Five dogs had clotted blood present at the base of the brain and anterior spinal
cord - one Pantopaque I and four Pantopaque II. Eight dogs had meninges visibly thickenedthree
Pantopaque I and five Pantopaque II. In two dogs, both Pantopaque II dogs at 0.14 ml/kg,
there were adhesions to the floor of the vertebral column. In 6 dogs, oily material was grossly
seen in the meninges- three Pantopaque I and three Pantopaque II.
Two Pantopaque I dogs receiving 0.014 ml/kg (No. 12686) (No. 12705) (* the lowest dose)
microscopically at autopsy had moderate to severe granulomatous reaction surrounding large
vacuoles in the space under the meninges and surrounding some of the spinal nerves. The
granulomatous reaction involved spinal nerves. There was moderate to severe fibrosis
surrounding the spinal cord and scattered areas of granulomatous reaction were present within the
white matter of the spinal cord. Most of the granulomatous reaction was associated around large,
clear empty (cystic) vacuoles. The spinal cord was surrounded by moderate amounts of old
blood present under the meninges. A Pantopaque I dog that had received the same dose
(No.12694) had a similar microscopic picture of granulomatous reaction and fibrosis with cystic
spaces but had a moderate amount of fresh hemorrhage under the meninges.
Pantopaque II dogs receiving the lower dose level (0.014 ml/kg) appeared to have gross acute
bleeding at all levels of the spinal cord and brain. Microscopically there was perivascular
infiltration of meningeal vessels and spinal cord involving macrophages and mononuclear cells,
and scattered clear cystic spaces.
Pantopaque II dogs at the higher dose level (0.14 ml/kg) appeared to induce a greater active
inflammatory response component. The granulomatous inflammatory reaction was moderate to
severe infiltration of mononuclear cells, macrophages, lymphocytes surrounding clear cyst-like
areas, moderate to severe adhesion of the arachnoid and dura mater to the spinal cord.
Histologically, sections of the spinal cords resembled areas of severe granulomatous reaction seen
with Pantopaque I. Severe granulomatous infiltration extended down to the cauda equina, with
moderate thickening of the arachnoid, and areas of compression of the spinal cord.
The following was the summary of Hazelton Laboratories, William M. Busey, DVM, Ph.D.’s
The intrathecal administration of Pantopaque I and Pantopaque II to mature Walker
hounds produced varying degrees of granulomatous meningitis in the brain and spinal
cord. In the majority of instances, in the animals possessing meningitis, the
inflammatory reaction appeared to be associated with empty vacuoles which could
possibly have been the experimental compounds. In addition to the granulomatous
type of cellular infiltration, there were varying degrees of fibrosis and thickening of
the meninges of the both the spinal cord and brain.
In the group receiving Pantopaque I, at a dosage level of 0.014 ml/kg, subdural
granulomatous inflammation was present to a moderate to severe degree in three
Only a slight to moderate amount of granulomatous inflammation was seen in three of
the animals receiving Pantopaque II at 0.014 ml/kg. A slight amount of
granulomatous inflammation was present in the cervical and thoracic regions of the
spinal cord in Animal No. 12700. There was, however, in this animal, a moderate
degree of meningitis in the brain which was associated primarily with two vacuoles in
the region of the medulla oblongata.....
There did not appear to be any difference in the incidence or severity of
granulomatous meningitis between the animals receiving Pantopaque I at 0.14 ml/kg
and those receiving Pantopaque II at 0.14 ml/kg. Severe granulomatous meningitis
was seen in the cervical regions of all of the animals in these two test groups. In
addition to the inflammatory cellular infiltration, there was severe fibrosis in this
region of the dura mater and arachnoid. .....
The majority of the animals receiving Pantopaque I and Pantopaque II at 0.14 ml/kg
also possessed some degree of meningitis of the brain......
In conclusion, it can be stated that the intrathecal administration of Pantopaque I and
Pantopaque II at 0.014 ml/kg and 0.14 ml/kg stimulates a granulomatous meningitis
(*bold and italics added for emphasis) in the areas where the compounds appear to
localize. The majority of the inflammatory reactions present in the animals on this
study were of a subacute to chronic nature. There was a definite difference in the
location and severity of the inflammatory reaction between the two dose levels. The
dosage level of 0.014 ml/kg of Pantopaque I stimulated a granulomatous reaction in
primarily the lumbar region; whereas, the dosage level of 0.14 ml/kg of both
Pantopaque I and Pantopaque II produced severe reaction in the cervical and thoracic
cords. Granulomatous inflammation was also present in the lumbar cord but to a
slightly less degree of severity and incidence.
February 10, 1969, Hazelton Laboratories submitted the final report of the Teratology Study with
Rabbits and Pantopaque II to Distillation Products, Rochester, NY. The purpose of the study had
been to evaluate the potential of Pantopaque II to produce embryotoxic and/or teratogenic effects
in a study population of albino rabbits. Peanut oil was administered as a control injection to
Group No. 1, Pantopaque I to Group No. 2, and Pantopaque II to Group No. 3 rabbits. Each
experimental group, which consisted of 40 rabbits, was divided into four subgroups of 10 animals
each. The first subgroups received a single dose of the appropriate injection two days prior to
insemination; the second subgroups received a single dose of the appropriate injection on Day 5
of gestation; and the third and fourth subgroups were injected on Day 8 and Day 11 of gestation,
respectively. The study was begun on June 25, 1968, with sacrifice of the last groups of females
completed on September 6, 1968.
The final results indicated that there were no meaningful differences between the
peanut oil, Pantopaque I and Pantopaque II groups in the number and placement of
implantation sites and live fetuses, in the weights and lengths of the fetuses, or in the
incubation survival. Females with implantation sites unaccounted for were found in
the peanut oil and Pantopaque I groups. The number of resorption sites and incidence
of females with resorption sites were high in both the Pantopaque I and II
females. The mean value of dead fetuses in the Pantopaque I group was high; (*
bold added for emphasis) however, one female only was found with dead fetuses, and
the value for this parameter was within normal limits. No dead fetuses were found in
the Pantopaque II group.
No unusual findings were noted in the external appearance or gross visceral anatomy
of any of the fetuses. The development and skeletal structure of the Pantopaque I and
Pantopaque II fetuses were comparable to that the peanut oil (control) fetuses.
Therefore, the response for Pantopaque II was essentially the same as for Pantopaque
April 14, 1969, FDA’s Associate Director for Marketed Drugs, Marvin Seife, MD issued
Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. a letter regarding the status of NDA 5-319.
Our records indicate that you have not submitted any annual reports as required by the
provisions of regulations 130.13 and section 505(j) of the Federal Food, Drug and
The failure to maintain the required records and make the reports pursuant to the
authority under section 505(j) of the Act may result in withdrawal of the approval of
the new drug application, and is prohibited.
In addition for the sake of uniformity and the convenience of the physician, it is
recommended that the labeling of your product and those of your distributors, be
revised to contain sections in the following order:
NAME OF THE DRUG
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Further we recommend the following:
1. Delete the statement “The small amount of material left in the subarachnoid
space is usually absorbed in two months.”
2. In the INDICATIONS section state the substance of the following:
“Pantopaque is indicated for the performance of myelography.”
3. In the ADVERSE REACTIONS section include the following:
a. Severe arachnoiditis producing headache, fever, meningismus, pain in
the back and extremities and elevations in the white blood count and the
protein count of the cerebrospinal fluid.
b. The incidence and severity of arachnoiditis are generally increased
when active subarachnoid bleeding has been induced by the lumbar
c. Rare instances of the development of lipoid granulomas, obstruction of
the ventricular system and venous intravasation producing pulmonary
4. In the CONTRAINDICATIONS section include the substance of the
“The administration of Pantopaque is contraindicated in patients with
known hypersensitivity to iodine or its compounds. Intrathecal
administration should be deferred if bleeding is encountered in the
performance of the lumbar puncture.”
5. In the PRECAUTIONS section, note that diagnostic tests of thyroid function
involving measurements of iodine may be invalidated for several years
following intrathecal injection of Pantopaque.
6. In the DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section the amount commonly
use as 3 to 12 ml. (* Bold added for emphasis)
Please submit the reports and let us know your proposal to the above
recommendations within ten days of the receipt of this letter.
Lafayette Pharmacal’s Withdrawal of NDA 16-377 for Approval of Pantopaque II
June 25, 1969 Lafayette Pharmacal’s President W. S. Bucke wrote to Dr. Grigsby of FDA to
request to withdraw NDA 16-377 for marketing approval of Pantopaque II. The reason that was
given to FDA for withdrawal of the NDA was as followed:
Based on the summaries of the three principal investigators who studied 203 cases
(91% of total), it is concluded that Pantopaque II containing 15% organically bound
iodine has no real improvement (* underlining added for emphasis) over conventional
Pantopaque (Iophendylate Injection, U.S.P.) containing 30% iodine.
Supplies of Pantopaque II sent to clinical investigators have been recalled and
inventories have been balanced with the amount shipped and returned. Case reports
from investigators have been summarized and are included in Volume III.
The information submitted with this letter has been compiled according to the form
described in regulation 130.4(e) and represents the complete data on the subject. It is
presented as three volumes, in triplicate.
June 25, 1969, Mr. Bucke also wrote to FDA to withdraw IND #1161 for Pantopaque II. The
letter indicated that the case reports of IND 1161 were included in NDA 16-377, and were being
submitted in lieu of the annual progress reports.
June 26, 1969, Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation, was written by F. Grigsby, MD of
his discussion with Dr. Kunz of Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc.. Dr. Kunz had called Dr. Grigsby to
inform FDA that Lafayette was officially going to withdraw NDA 16-377 for marketing of
Pantopaque II (15%). Dr. Kunz indicated that the firm’s reason for withdrawal of their
Pantopaque II marketing application was that the firm had found that the 15 % Pantopaque was
no more effective, and frequently less effective, then the currently marketed 30% preparation.
Dr. Kunz was informed by Dr. Grigsby that if no further clinical studies were contemplated for
the 15% Pantopaque II that IND 1161 should also be discontinued by Lafayette’s submission of
an amendment to the IND with a reference to the clinical studies that have or will be submitted to
the NDA before its official withdrawal. The “Notice” reference may serve in lieu of the annual
progress report. In addition the amendment to the IND should include information respective to
notification to all clinical investigators of their action and to the disposition of the remaining drug.
From the memo, and the letter to FDA to withdraw the IND and NDA for Pantopaque, there
appears to have been no mention by either Mr. Bucke or Dr. Kunz of the adverse findings of the
animal safety studies done by Hazelton Laboratories relative to the equivalent poor safety
performance of both Pantopaque I, the approved product, and Pantopaque II, the
investigational product. Therefore, FDA was not informed that the animal toxicity studies did
not support the “safety” of Pantopaque I.
June 27, 1969, Memo of a Telephone Conversation of another conversation held between Dr.
Grigsby and Dr. Kunz, and after the writing of Lafayette’s withdrawal letters by Mr. Bucke.
Dr. Kunz stated that he had collected all data in their possession and that their annual
progress report is due within one or two months. He referred to this new drug
application as one pending with FDA for approval but they have found the
Pentopaque (sic) 30% produces no better visualization than 15% and in fact in some
instances it is worse.
He stated that he will be in the District of Columbia within the next few days and will
leave an amendment to the IND discontinuing clinical studies. He was told that he
may cross reference the information on clinical studies reported in the NDA to serve
as a progress report for the IND. He was also advised to state the reasons for
discontinuing the study and to inform us as to the final disposition of the drug and
notification of all clinical investigators. He thanked me for the information and
terminated the conversation.
Technically, the Hazelton Laboratories data had not sent the more damaging conclusions of their
animal studies obtained in 1969 directly to Lafayette Pharmacal but rather had sent them to
Kodak, Distillation Products Industries Division, Rochester, NY. Therefore, it is “unclear”
whether the most unfavorable Hazelton Laboratories animal safety data for both Pantopaque I
and II sent to Kodak would have been in Dr. Kunz’s “physical possession” at Lafayette
Pharmacal when he spoke with Dr. Grigsby. It is also unclear whether the performance animal
data obtained with both “approved” Pantopaque I and “investigational” Pantopaque II were ever
shared with FDA within the three volumes of submitted “clinical data” for withdrawal of the
Dr. Grigsby documented in his memo that he clearly was indicating to Dr. Kunz that the firm was
to be forthright and honest with the agency regarding providing all known product information
and all reasons for withdrawal of the Pantopaque II marketing application. It would have been
assumed that Lafayette management would have known to be honest, forthright and complete
with FDA in all information regarding NDA 5-319 (*Pantopaque I) and that it was a crime for any
sponsor to make fraudulent and/or misleading statements to FDA about a product marketed in the
FDA’s Drug Efficacy Study Implementation (DESI) and Pantopaque
Uncertain about the safety of America’s drug supply continued even after the passage of the
Kefauver-Harris Amendments. As a result, Congress opened hearings in March 1964, chaired by
Representative L.H. Fountain, to investigate FDA’s efforts to promote drug safety. But
Fountain’s hearings took a comprehensive look at the agency’s regulation of drugs, especially
those that were removed from the market.
To further comply with the requirements of the drug amendments of 1962, FDA contracted in
1966 with the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS-NRC) to study all
drugs approved from 1938-1962 from the standpoint of efficacy. All drugs on the U.S. market
would have been reviewed for both “safety”and “efficacy”. Following the passage of the
amendment, there was a legal time delay in enforcement by the Agency while the courts
determined whether demonstration of “marketing success” met the requirements of valid proof of
product “efficacy” according to the FDCA. The courts in 1970s ruled that marketing success
alone did not constitute valid documentation of efficacy.
The review process begun by the FDA was called the Drug Efficacy Study
Implementation(DESI). The Drug Amendments had required that the DESI be completed within
two years and that all labeling recommendations be fully implemented by 1972. However,
elements of the DESI process still continues in 2002.
DESI evaluated over 3000 separate products and over 16,000 therapeutic claims. The last
NAS/NRC report was submitted in 1969, but the contract extended through 1973 to cover
ongoing issues. The initial agency review of the NAS/NRC reports by the task force was
completed in November 1970.
One of the early effects of the DESI study was the development of the Abbreviated New Drug
Application (ANDA). ANDAs were accepted for reviewed products that required changes in
existing labeling to be in compliance. In September 1981 final regulatory action had been taken
for 90% of all DESI products. By 1984, final action had been completed on 3,443 products; of
these, 2,225 were found to be effective, 1051 were found not to be effective, and 167 are still
pending. In May 1972, the DESI process was extended to cover over-the-counter (OTC)
Lafayette Pharmacal’s NDA 5-319 was a drug products to come under review of the NAS-NRC
DESI program as documented by Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc.s’ receipt of the May 23, 1971 letter
from FDA’s Director of DESI Project Office, P. Bryan, M.D.. The DESI letter echoes the earlier
1969 labeling requests from FDA.
During the 1970s, the FDA started two new forums to help increase drug communication to the
public. The Bureau of Drugs launched the FDA Drug Bulletin in 1971. The National Drug
Experience Reporting System also was begun in 1971. The NAS had been studying the problem
of not only how to catalogue and store information about adverse drug reactions, drug abuse, and
drug interactions, but also how that information could best made available to health professionals.
The study concluded that since the FDA had already begun to collect the drug data, that they
should take the lead on creating and maintaining the adverse event reporting system.
In July 1979, FDA also proposed a program to provide patients with additional information about
prescription drugs, including a description of the drug’s uses, risks, and side effects. Under the
Agency’s proposal, all drug manufacturers would print the information and the health provider
would give the insert to the patient. But, by September 1980, under the weight of well-organized
opposition to the program, the FDA was forced to drop the requirement for a patient insert.
Pantopaque clinical literature had been reviewed by the NAS-NRC Panel on Diagnostic Agents.
The indication for the drug was for myelography, and DESI advisory panel concluded that it was
“effective” for that labeled indication. The comments of the DESI review summarized the
information found in the published literature:
Pantopaque (ethyliodophenylundecylate with 30.5% iodine in oil) has been widely
used and is accepted as the current agent of choice in myelography. Comparative
studies are few, but one in cats showed Pantopaque to be superior. Several groups
have increased the dose without untoward effects. Small volumes (2-3 cc) of
Pantopaque have been used also for positive-contrast ventriculography.
In terms of the labeling review, the advisor panel reviewed Pantopaque labeling that had been
submitted and “cleared” by FDA in the NDA for marketing of Pantopaque in the U.S., the general
comments by the members of the advisory panel for labeling of Pantopaque were as follows:
Additional side effects should be mentioned:
Infrequently, severe arachnoiditis has followed the intrathecal injection of
Pantopaque, producing headache, fever, meningimus, severe back pains, pain in the
lower extremities, and elevation of the white cell count and protein content of the
cerebrospinal fluid. The incidence and severity of this arachnoiditis are greatly
increased when active subarachnoid bleeding has been induced by the lumbar
Rare instances of lipoid granuloma, obstruction of the ventricular system, and venous
intravasation producing pulmonary embolization have followed the intraspinal
injection of Pantopaque.
Diagnostic tests of thyroid function involving the administration of radioactive iodine
may be invalidated for many years, following the intrathecal injection of Pantopaque.
Additional contraindications should be mentioned:
The intrathecal administration of Pantopaque should be deferred if active
subarachnoid bleeding is encountered in the performance of the lumbar puncture.
The administration of Pantopaque is contraindicated in patients with known
hypersensitivity to iodine or its compounds.
The following phrase in the package insert is incorrect:
“The small amount of material that is left is usually absorbed within two months.” In
fact, the residual contrast medium in the subarachnoid space usually remains for
many years. This incorrect statement should be deleted.
It should be specifically recommended that as much of the Pantopaque be removed
from the subarachnoid space as possible, after the examination is completed.
The amount of Pantopaque commonly used is 3-12 cc rather than that quoted in the
brochure (3-5 cc).
The recommendation in the package insert for the examiner to become “darkadapted”
before fluoroscopy is no longer applicable for many institutions where
image intensification is used.
Pantopaque may be used in small volume (2-3 cc) for positive-contrast
ventriculography when conventional air ventriculography is unsuccessful.
V. Marketing of Pantopaque (30%) following withdrawal of Pantopaque II’s NDA
April 18, 1969 letter from Frank Gollon, Eastman Kodak Legal Dept, Trademark Section, to Mr.
W.T. French, Patent Dept, Kodak Office:
You have requested information concerning our marketing of ethyl
iodophenylundecylate which is distributed by others as a contrast medium for
radiography under the trademark PANTOPAQUE. I am advised that this information
is required in connection with an inquiry received by Eastman Kodak Company from
the United States Department of Justice which has challenged certain restrictive
provisions in a patent license agreement relating to radiopaque (United States v
Sterling Drug, Inc. and E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc.)
I understand that ethyl iodophenylundecylate is purchased from us by Lafayette
Pharmacal Inc. who packages it in dosage form or vials for use as a contrast medium
for radiography. Lafayette in turn sells the repackaged product to a number of
distributors including General Electric Company, Picker X-Ray Corporation,
Standard X-Ray Company, E.M. Parker Company, Kelley-Koett Manufacturing
Company. In order that Lafayette may identify its product under our trademark
PANTOPAQUE, we licensed that company in 1943 to use our mark upon the product
sold by us to it under such trademark PANTOPAQUE. It is my understanding,
however, that our sales of the chemical to Lafayette have been under the generic
chemical name for many years now, probably dating from before 1957. Since
PANTOPAQUE would be distributed by such other companies as General Electric,
Picker, Standard, etc. in packages carrying neither the Lafayette not the Eastman
Kodak name, it was deemed advisable to protect our proprietary interest in the mark,
to also license these other companies to use the mark.
Your copy of the Department of Justice letter of inquiry addressed to this company is
February 11, 1970, Eastman Kodak Company, finalized the development of a process for
manufacturing Ethyl Iodophenylundecylate (Pantopaque) that found a substitute for benzene in
the esterification process to eliminate the health hazard associated with use of benzene. The
process was titled Manufacturing Controls for the Preparation of Pantopaque and began:
There are no changes in the information previously submitted to the Food and Drug
Administration, except that iodic acid was indicated as the iodinating agent. Actually,
iodine is the iodinating agent and iodic acid is an oxidizing agent for regenerating
iodine from the hydrogen iodide that is liberated, thus permitting complete use of the
It is noted that the instructions for items 6,7 and 8 of the current New Drug
Application Form (F.D. 356 H) apparently contemplate considerably more detailed
information than that which was originally required. .....
The manufacture and chemical purification of ethyl iodophenylundecylate is carried
out in the Synthetic Chemicals Division located in the Kodak Park Division of
Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY. The manufacturing operations are
carried out by trained, experienced chemical operators , chemical technicians and
professional chemists employed by the Synthetic Chemicals Division. Quality
Control operations are carried out by analytical technicians and professional chemists
assigned to three Kodak Park areas- Synthetic Chemicals Division, Industrial
Laboratory and Kodak research Laboratories.
W.S. Bucke , Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. wrote Mr. J. Robinson, Legal Department, Eastman
Kodak Company on February 18, 1971 the following:
Pursuant to our conversation, I wish to advise that your company Kodak, Distillation
Products Industries division,(* bold and underlining added for emphasis) is
responsible for meeting the U.S.P. requirements for Iophendylate Injection.
A proof of an advertisement for George Banta Company, Inc. intended for the Journal of
Neurosurgery, August 1969 for marketing of Pantopaque. The advertisement discussed the use of
Pantopaque contrast medium for the visualization of a large neurofibroma (*tumor) at the level of
the third cervical vertebra.
Side Effects: Clinical reports indicate that the incidence and the severity of the side
effects following Pantopaque myelography with aspiration of the medium is but
slightly greater than with ordinary lumbar punctures. (*Underlining added for
emphasis). In 10-30 percent of such cases there may be transient symptomatic
(*Underlining added for emphasis). reactions consisting of slight temporary elevation
and increase of symptoms referrable to a back condition. When the medium is not
removed, similar transient side effects (*Underlining added for emphasis). occur with
a slight elevation of temperature in a greater percent of patients. To reduce the
reactions to minimum and to facilitate the absorption of the medium, the bulk of the
Pantopaque should be removed by aspiration after myelography.
The implication from the advertisement is that for a physician to reduce the risk of transient fever
following myelography, they should attempt to remove the bulk of Pantopaque, bu
Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:52 PM
agent is left in the spinal cord similar transient side effect may occur in a greater percentage of
patients. This labeling does not reflect the results of long-term animal testing for Pantopaque
when the contrast medium is left in the spinal column, nor the occurrence of permanent long term
complications such as “obliterative arachnoiditis” in patients that has been reported within the
medical literature, nor does it reflect the concerns that had been expressed by the FDA. This
labeling also implies the Pantopaque has been cleared by FDA for visualization of a tumor in the
The letter from October 3, 1972 John Potts, of Eastman Kodak to Mr. Strawbridge, Picker
Corporation, demonstrated just how closely Eastman Kodak monitored the Pantopaque trademark.
It is unforunate that Kodak did not monitor the “accuracy and truthfulness” of the contents of the
labeling in terms of patient safety. Regarding the license to use the trademark Pantopaque, Mr.
Our attention has recently been directed to the sales carton you are currently using to
merchandize the Picker Myelogram Tray. Although this is a most attractive carton,
we are somewhat concerned that the treatment afforded our PANTOPAQUE mark is
not in compliance with the terms of our license agreement dated August 24, 1943....
In the first instance, the legend “Trademark PANTOPAQUE Licensed by Proprietor”,
does not appear thereon. We believe such a legend is imperative to avoid any
misunderstanding as to the ownership of the PANTOPAQUE mark, and request that it
be added as soon as possible to the main face panel of the carton–preferably,
immediately beneath the most prominent impression of the mark.
Secondly, although the mark PANTOPAQUE appears some eight times on the carton,
the proper generic terminology appears only once.....
Finally, it is noted that the carton in question does not contain one of the accepted
legal notices of trademark registration as required by the license......
We realize, of course, that your company would not intentionally do anything to
jeopardize our rights in the PANTOPAQUE mark and know that you will take prompt
action to correct the packaging in question.
In terms of demonstrating the working role and oversight of Eastman Kodak over
Lafayette Pharmacal’s product and product labeling, there was a January 31, 1973
letter from Eastman Kodak Company’s Executive Vice President, International
Photographic Division, written for the approval of Mr. Bucke of Lafayette
It is our understanding that your firm wishes to distribute and sell in Mexico,
packages and vials of contrast medium for radiography under our registered
trademark PANTOPAQUE (Mexican Reg. No. 163,727). Accordingly, by this letter,
we hereby grant to you a nonexclusive, nonassignable license to use said trademark in
Mexico subject to the following terms and conditions which are necessary to protect
our rights in and to said trademark PANTOPAQUE and the good will assocaited
1. Said trademark PANTOPAQUE will be used by you only on radiographic contrast
media manufactured and sold by us to you; all such product to conform to standards
of quality and sterility prescribed and approved by us.
3. We shall have the right of approval of all such product, packages and labels and
you agree to furnish to us upon request, production samples of same for our
4. You, at all times, will acknowledge our ownership of an rights in and to the
trademark PANTOPAQUE as applied to radiographic contrast media and similar
Purchase of Lafayette Pharmacal By Alcon Laboratories
A Marketing Assessment report of Pantopaque sales 1976-1977 conducted by Alcon Laboratories
had sales of Pantopaque accounting for 82% of Lafayette product sales. Phone interviews
conducted with radiologists confirmed that Pantopaque was the only contrast medium currently
being used for myelography. Two radiologist interviewees mentioned a new aqueous preparation
on the horizon that was under investigation but that had yet to be released by the FDA. In terms
of amount of Pantopaque used for myelography, the 3 cc ampules had been losing sales ground to
the more recently introduced 6 cc and 12 cc ampules.
Sales by Lafayette Pharmacal were to the major distributors such as Picker, G.E., Litton and are
50% of the list price. According to Mr. Griggs of Lafayette, Picker sales accounted for 50% of
the product sales. Using extrapolation, Picker had purchased $1,750,000 of Pantopaque which it
would have sold for $3,500,000. Since Lafayette personnel did not actively sell Pantopaque to
radiologists, a gradual approach to phasing out Pantopaque distributors could potentially permit
Alcon to convert most of the business to direct sales through LPI within 2 years.
There was also a statement that there appears to be a certain amount of receptivity medically to an
aqueous product which is still under investigation. Regarding the assessment of the potential
impact of the availability of water soluble contrast medium:
It may never be approved by FDA but if it is, it could nibble into our 100%
The assessment concluded:
On balance....no marketing considerations have presented themselves to preclude our
moving forward on the acquisition. We will not double sales in one year by cutting
out distributors quickly, but we do have much room to maneuver company sales to a
substantially higher level within 2-3 years.
November 7, 1977 Alcon Laboratories, Inc. made a Proposal for Acquisition of Lafayette
Pharmacal, Inc. for a purchase price of $8-10 million partially offset by excess cash and
marketable securities of approximately $1.0 million held by Lafayette. Lafayette was a small
company that specialized in x-ray contrast media, employed 30 people, and was located in
Lafayette, Indiana. Stock purchase and sale was finalized January 1, 1978.
In terms of Alcon’s assessment, the striking feature of Lafayette Pharmacal was the simplicity of
the business. The company bought barium sulfate from a supplier in Germany and compounded it
into various powder and liquid forms for distribution. Pantopaque had a single ingredient that
was purchased from Eastman Kodak Company. Lafayette conducted manufacturing operations
that consisted of sterilization, filtration, filling and packaging. Lafayette maintained no sales force
and there was no competition at the time for purchase of Pantopaque.
Lafayette has been a stable, highly profitable company for many years. The
opportunity for purchase at the present time is related to Lafayette’s principal owner,
William Bucke, who is elderly and in failing health. He and the two other major
stockholders Wm. Griggs and A. Kunz are at a point where they must continue the
business as a small operation; go public to acquire funds, establish a sales force and
expand the business; or sell the business to a company who already has a sales force,
effective R&D, and capable management and can capitalize on Lafayette operations.
(*Note: Water soluble contrast medium: Metrizamide was first cleared by FDA for marketing in
mid-1978 sponsored by Winthrop Laboratories. Amipaque was a noninoic water soluble agent
intended for regional and full column myelography. It was marketed as a lyophilized powder
with diluent for reconstitution prior to injection. Because of its non-ionic structure and water
solubility, it was absorbed from the CSF into the blood stream better than Pantopaque with
approximately 60% of the administered dose excreted unchanged in the urine within 48 hours.
Thus removal after myelography of Amipaque was not necessary. This “important difference”
became an important selling point for the agent when it was compared to Pantopaque. Since
Amipaque was also a low viscosity agent, it demonstrated better filling and x-ray delineation of
nerve roots than Pantopaque.)
On September 8, 1978, Gerald Hect, Ph.D., Corporate Director of the Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Alcon wrote to A Kunz, Ph.D., Technical Director of Lafayette Pharmacal regarding the changes
that were to occur at Lafayette Pharmacal. Alcon requested an introductory statement to clarify
the full strategy of Lafayette’s R&D program in the areas of myelography and lymphography.
Alcon also wanted Dr. Kunz to summarize Lafayette’s plans for conducting safety testing. It was
Alcon’s policy that all safety testing must be coordinated through Corporate Toxicology, Dr. C A
Robb, for approval prior to commencement.
Alcon requested that Dr. Kunz highlight Lafayette plans for future government submissions and
the time that would be required. Lafayette must now deal with the Alcon Regulatory Affairs
Division for all FDA submissions. In terms of Lafayette’s R&D plans:
Art, I feel your Research and Development plans ought to reflect, beyond a shadow of
a doubt, Lafayette’s major commitment to support and defense of your breadwinner,
Pantopaque. Your communication of August 18 lists two projects in this regard. The
first, Pilot Plant Synthesis of Iophendylate, is primarily a product support measure
which has profitability implications. Pantopaque should be strongly considered as a
prime candidate for synthesis and final dosage form manufacture in Puerto Rico
where our tax advantage will return significantly more revenues to us than this
activity conducted stateside would.
The only other activity which I can identify as being truly in support or defense of
Pantopaque is the activity which has an objective the Development of a Myelographic
Technique Booklet for Radiologists. We view this specifically as “Marketing
Services”. The other two projects outlined in your communication of August 18 we
do not consider as truly supportive or defensive of Pantopaque, but more
appropriately as new programs for second generation myelographic agents. This
would be your oily contrast agent and your non-ionic water soluble contrast agent.
To further concentrate on this support and defense of Pantopaque, I would suggest
that you consider the advantage of conducting well-controlled clinical studies
(admittedly in addition to those already in the literature) which would allow you to
accumulate first-hand information on the comparative safety, efficacy and side effects
of Pantopaque versus Metrizamide. Perhaps additional studies can be conducted
comparing Pantopaque with perfluoroctyl bromide if the state of development of the
agent should warrant such a study.
Basically, what I am proposing here is collecting additional well-controlled safety and
efficacy data on Pantopaque versus what I understand to be the next closest horse in
the race, Amipaque.
Art, beyond Pantopaque support and defense, it would be my recommendation to
pursue at the program and project stage the first generation improvement of
Pantopaque outlined in your August 18 plans, an oily contrast agent, followed closely
by the non-ionic water soluble contrast agent, both for myelography.....
I trust the foregoing will be of some help to you in understanding how we view
approaching R&D for a subsidiary which has as a significant share of its income a
single product or group of products. Needless to say, Pantopaque is the plum in this
In 1978, the Lafayette Director of Organic Research and Development , as well as the Product
Complain Coordinator was Barry Newton, Ph.D. Dr. Newton appears to have been assigned the
official task of responding to inquiries and issues involving the clinical use of Pantopaque. Mr.
Robert Sharp was Lafayette’s Quality Assurance Director.
Alcon’s Annual Research and Development Report of 1979 discussed the impact that the
availability of Amipaque, a non-ionic water soluble contrast agent for myelography was having
on the sales of Pantopaque. During 1979, Amipaque, which cost 5 times as much as Pantopaque,
had produced a purported $20,000,000 in revenues for Winthrop and had redefined the
myelography market. Price increases on the part of Lafayette Pharmacal had kept the dollar
volume of Pantopaque stable despite the reduced number of units sold.
Dr.s Kunz, Newton and Hecht learned that Wintrop was working with Nyegard to develop the
second generation of Amipaque that could be marketed as an aqueous solution. (Note:* NDA
cleared 1/1/1982 as NDA 17-982 for Nycomed for Amipaque.)
Alcon’s proposed R&D strategy for maximum impact, projecting that Lafayette R& D was at
least 5 years away from NDA approval on an in-house developed non-ionic water soluble contrast
In order to defend our position with Pantopaque, an alternate source of supply is
required. Our 1979 plans called for completing laboratory synthesis and scale-up
with yield optimizations and acquisitions of equipment, facilities, and production
costs. This activity was required due to our dependence on Eastman Chemicals as the
sole supplier of this drug. All scale-up objectives and estimates were satisfactorily
achieved and this project is nearing completion, at which time we will be in a position
to recommend a course of action to top management in this regard. Additional
accomplishments included the definition of a final filter for Pantopaque ( based on an
FDA/Lafayette agreement in October) and the preparation of a revised labeling
instructing its use for submission early in the 1st Quad 1980.
Overall, 1979 was a year for bringing Lafayette Pharmacal R&D firmly into the
Corporate R&D organization, both philosophically and managerially. Such concepts
as Unit Plans, Standards of Performance, Good Laboratory Practices and astute,
tough-minded decision making regarding the expenditure of Research and
Development resources have been implemented and enthusiastically embraced by
Radiology R&D management and personnel.
June 28, 1979 letter from G. Hecht, Ph.D to Dr. B. Newton, Lafayette Pharmacal:
I am writing to reaffirm Corporate R&D position in your practices for the handling of
medical complaints. It is our position that the R&D Director handle all complaints of
a medical nature. We are therefore expecting you, as Associate Director of Lafayette
Pharmacal R&D, to continue in this regard.
It would, however, be wise to document a formal understanding with a reputable
radiologist and/or neurologist to obtain qualified medical opinion for complaint
handling. In order to do so, I feel we should formalize an agreement with such
consultants, place them on a retainer if necessary, obtain their curriculum vitae, etc.,
for our files to lend credence to their use as medical consultants.
June 29, 1982, Dr. Newton called Dr. Hecht as recorded on a Recent Information Form filed by
Dr. Hecht. The point of issue was a paper appearing in the June issue of Radiology, p. 699
regarding the use of Pantopaque and Amipaque in monkeys.
Dr. Newton called to report the appearance of the subject article in Radiology, p. 699,
June 1982. Upon reviewing this article, Dr. Newton felt that it was a very strong
indictment of Pantopaque as a causative factor in arachnoiditis following Pantopaque
myelography. Apparently the article was able to demonstrate striking differences
between Pantopaque and Amipaque in primates (monkeys). This demonstration of
arachnoiditis was made on gross observation followed by graded histology.
Upon discussion, Dr. Newton and I agreed that he would send the article to Dr. Sol
Betnitzky, Neuroradiologist, Kansas City; Dr. Richard Gilmor, Neuroradiologist and
Neurosurgeon, University of Indiana; Dr. Larry Gold, Neuroradiologist, University of
Minnesota; Dr. Ling Lee, Neuroradiologist and Neurosurgeon, Veterans
Administration Hospital, Nashville, TN; Dr. Jans Muller, a Pathologist at IUPUI in
Indianapolis. These practitioners have had considerable experience in the use of
Pantopaque and Amipaque and will be requested to provide us with their review of
the findings as published by Dr. Haughton.
July 1, 1982 Dr. Barry Newton sent A. Kunz an inter-office memo regarding a Pantopaque article
that had been issued by Johnston and Matheny regarding their study of 28 patients with
arachnoiditis. The authors made the point that 4 of the 28 patients (14%) had myelography
more than one year after spinal surgery and all 4 had “severe arachnoiditis”. Microscopic
studies of cyst walls containing Pantoaque ( removed at surgery) did not show inflammatory
changes any greater than other areas of the scar tissue. The authors had concluded that in most
cases, arachnoiditis developed as a result of some traumatic event to the spine. These events
included herniated disc, “myelography”, surgery, or other injuries. The arachnoid then
developed an aberrant healing process that was known as arachnoiditis.
July 14, 1982 Dr. Newton phoned Dr. Hecht regarding the initial results of the reviews of the Dr.
Haughton’s article. Two of the five physicians, Dr. Batnitsky and Dr. Gilmor had been
impressed by Dr. Haughton’s work and found the article “disturbing”; Dr. Muller had not
reviewed the article; Dr.s Gold and Lee indicated that the article contained “nothing new”, with
Dr. Lee the most critical of Dr. Haughton’s work.
(* Note: Dr. B. Newton had supplied Dr. Haughton with 12 - 3cc vials of Pantopaque for
use in his primate studies. In a June 25, 1982 letter from Dr. Newton to Dr. Hecht, he indicated
that Dr. Haughton’s primate dose of Pantopaque was equivalent to a 3-12cc intrathecal dose of
Pantopaque in a human.)
July 16, 1982 Dr. Newton once again phoned Dr. Hect. Dr. Gilmor had felt the article was quite
damaging to Pantopaque, however, he assured Dr. Newton he wouldn’t be influenced by it and
would continue to use Pantopaque. Both Dr.s Gilmor and Betnitsky indicated that Haughton’s
article did not address the clinical symptomatology associated with x-ray detected arachnoiditis.
Based on the estimated millions of procedures done since the early 40's, it may be that the
arachnoiditis remains subclinical in severity. Dr. Gilmor and Dr. Ling Lee had seen few severe
reactions. Dr. Muller expressed no opinion. Dr. Gold continued to be supportive of
Pantopaque and that the incidence of arachnoiditis was almost negligible. Dr. Gold had phoned
Dr. Haughton and spoke to him personally about the content of the article. Dr Haughton had
stated to Dr. Gold that he only said in the article what was already generally known and accepted,
namely that if pantopaque is not removed completely it may produce arachnoiditis, and
sometimes that arachnoiditis may be severe. However, Dr. Hect also indicated in his memo that
Dr. Barry Newton was genuinely concerned about the contents of the article and was most
anxious to sit down and discuss the article with Alcon’s legal consul.
April 25, 1983 internal memo from Hugh Hunter, Laboratory & Specialty Chemicals Markets,
HSMD, Eastman Kodak to W.J Prezzano with Dr. Barry Newton’s name written in the margin.
The memo demonstrates that Pantopaque’s primary supplier, Eastman Kodak, was aware of legal
activity involving the use of Pantopaque and also was aware of the agent’s falling popularity
with the medical imaging community. The Kodak memo stated:
Relative to J.P.Samper’s April 13 letter, we would like you to consider our proposal
based on the following additional information.
PANTOPAQUE is a mature product and losing market share to a competitive
radiopaque dye called Amipaque (metrizamide)-------1982 sales to end users showed
a 40% increase for * Amipaque compared to a 16% sales decrease for
PANTOPAQUE. Cost per examination for the two products is about the same $12.90
for PANTOPAQUE versus $13.00 for Amipaque. Amipaque has become the
preferred radiopaque dye for non-traumatized spine. Recently Amipaque is being
touted for use in cases with spine trauma. (See enclosed article)
Based on the above information we would propose the following:
1. Raise the price of PANTOPAQUE to our customers in a two stage format. Since
we are on a quarterly system of changing prices to our bulk chemical customers, we
would like to announce a first increase of 8.7% on * June 1 with an effective date of
July 1, 1983, and a second increase of 6.3% December 1, 1983, with an effective date
of January 1, 1984.
Monitor the legal activity and submit a biannual report January 1 and July 1
enumerating the outstanding legal cases,(*Bold added for emphasis). the costs
associated with each of them, and indications as to the urgency of each case.
April 27, 1983, Dr. Barry Newton, now identified as Director of Sales & Marketing for Lafayette
wrote to R.A. Sharp regarding his “recommendations” for revisions to the Physician Package
Insert for Pantopaque. The revisions appear to be very much in keeping with Dr. Newton’s
proposed new marketing strategies for expansion of the use market:
On the next revision of Pantopaque I would recommend that the following two
changes be made. In the section under “Use of Pantopaque” we use the phrase
“particularly suitable for lumbar myelography.” This phrase should be withdrawn
from the package insert. Under the Reactions section, we should use the phrase
“occasionally severe arachnoiditis may occur.” (*Bold added for emphasis). This
should be changed to read simply “arachnoiditis may occur.”(*Bold added for
emphasis). We should also add the phrase “arachnoiditis may be more frequent if
Pantopaque is used after surgical intervention”.(*Bold added for emphasis). A
reference citing this should be included.
On the same day, April 27, 1983, Dr. Newton sent a memo to Manufacturer’ Sales
Representatives providing a Pantopaque reference that discussed some of the medical indications,
i.e. cervical spine, that may be suitable for the use of Pantopaque. The point being made by Dr.
Newton was that the representatives should make the doctors in the neuroradiology department
aware that Pantopaque was not associated with seizures and that is why it was recommended in an
article on cervical myelograms done in patients with cervical trauma.
With Amipaque, because of their fear of seizures or convulsions, doctors should have
a concern about using Amipaque in cases where the patient’s spine is injured. The
article by Dr. York Chynn talks about the technique for the introduction and removal
of Pantopaque. Dr. Chynn has done at least 5000 Pantopque myelograms without any
serious side effects. He is a firm believer that the problems that are reported on
Pantopaque are due to technical procedure problems. (*Bold added for emphasis).
Whenever you are in a radiology department and have an opportunity, I would like
for you to check to see if the pharmacy has Pantopaque in stock. If possible, also
provide the neuroradiologist with copies of the enclosed articles.
Because of the commission payments that have been established with Lafayette and
your company, Pantopaque does represent a major portion of the commission, and it
would be to your benefit to support this product as much as possible.(*Bold
added for emphasis).
May 24, 1983 Lafayette Pharmacal’s Dr. Barry Newton, General Manager of Lafayette
Pharmacal, finalized a consulting agreement between Dr. York Chynn and Lafayette Pharmacal
regarding his providing professional support for promotion of Pantopaque. Lafayette Pharmacal
agreed to pay Dr. Chynn for pictures, drawing and a written procedure for performing Pantoaque
myelography that was to be completed by October 1, 1983. Lafayette also agreed to pay for time
and expenses of Dr. Chynn for writing an article regarding a safe procedure for Pantopaque
myelography that was to have been accepted prior to December 1, 1983 for publication in any one
of the following journals: Neuroradiology, American Journal of Roentgenology or Spine.
May 27, 1983, Dr. Newton issued an inter-office correspondence to Frank Buhler regarding his
recent trip to Indianapolis for discussions with Dr.s R. Miller and D. Maglinte regarding barium
enema technology, including E-Z-Em devices, and Dr. R. Gilmor regarding his potential writing
of an article for Lafayette about Pantopaque myelography. Concerning Dr. Gilmor, Dr. Newton
Dr. Gilmor and I discussed the possibility of a paper on Pantopaque myelography. I
pointed out to Dr. Gilmor that an article dealing with the avoidance of intravenous
injections of Pantopaque, as well as overcoming some other objections to
Pantopaque, might be appropriate. Dr. Gilmor agree to prepare an outline on a
possible publication. The understanding was that I would review the article, and it
must meet my approval before it would be submitted for publication. Dr. Gilmor
noted that in light of the strong advocates for water soluble myelography on the
review committees of the journals, it may be difficult to get a publication in favor of
Pantopaque approved. This was very positive meeting, and I feel confident that Dr.
Gilmor will prepare an article acceptable by us. I indicated to Dr. Gilmor that we
would pay expenses for him and his wife to attend a meeting dealing with
neuroradiology ( ca. $2500).(*Bold added for emphasis).
During 1983, Dr. Newton began to increase the visibility of Pantopaque in terms of advertising to
physicians. For example, Lafayette issued a June 30, 1983 mailing directly to physicians:
ARE YOU DOING MEYLOGRAPHY?
If so, please take a brief moment to review the enclosed product information sheet on
Pantopaque. Pantopaque has been in use for myelography in the United States since
the 1940's. During that time, Pantopaque has been used for several million
myelograms and the incidence of side effects has been extremely low.(*Bold added
for emphasis). If you are not currently using Pantopaque, this may be a good time to
reevaluate it as a myelographic agent for your department.
May 4, 1984, Dr. Newton issued a confidential sales program packet for Pantopaque to “All
Sales Representatives” that included Dr. Chynn’s article, and anatomical drawings of the spinal
cord, Amipaque and PantoPaque inserts.
PANTOPAQUE MYELOGRAPHY PROVEN OVER AND OVER IN MORE
THAN FIFTEEN MILLION EXAMS
1. PantoPaque has been in continuous use since 1944. More than 15,000,000
myelograms have been performed.
2. PantoPaque is a very safe and effective myelographic agent when used properly. It
can be safely used for whole column myelography.
3. With DRG’s , perhaps this would be a good time for the hospital to reevaluate their
use of PantoPaque. The PantoPaque for a myelogram consts about 50% of
Amipaque ( $45.00 vs. $100.00).(*Bold added for emphasis).
4. Before Amipaque was introduced, there was no listing in Index Medicus for
“Myelography- Side Effects”,(*Bold added for emphasis). now there is a special
heading for side effects and these are nearly all Amipaque.
PantoPaque is packaged in single dose glass ampuls because PantoPaque is
deleterious to rubber seals.
After opening the ampuls, Lafayette recommends that PantoPaque be filtered through
a Gelman 5 Micron Acrodisc filter.
For 1984, Lafayette is paying a 3% commission on all direct orders that are written by
MSR’s or that specify....as per “Your Name”...on the order. You can give a 5%
discount on individual direct orders of $500 net. We do not want to make your key
distributors angry by taking business away from them. But, if you find that a hospital
buying Pantopaque from a distributor, that is not helping you, then you should try to
take that order direct......
May 24, 1984, Walter Hauck, DVM, Hazleton Laboratories wrote to Ms. Aracelis Ramirez,
Alcon Laboratories PR, Inc. to inquire whether they could have Alcon’s permission to publish an
article in a laboratory animal science journal regarding their observations of clinical disease and
deaths in their pyrogen rabbit studies done with intravenous injection of Pantopaque.
Hazelton Laboratories wanted to know how the material should be identified in the article. June
12, 1984 O.J. Lorenzetti, Ph.D. of Alcon Ophthalmology-Surgical responded to Lee Hansen,
President/ General Manager of Alcon regarding the request from Hazleton Laboratories:
Research and Development does not support publication by Hazleton of data acquired
through our contracts on pyrogen testing of Alcon’s radiopaque product.
We must refuse this request since it cannot benefit Alcon in any way and may prove
to be damaging to our product.
In your reply I recommend a simple decline of request, as being inconsistent with
company policy as well as a violation of client relationship. In the future you may
wish to supply test samples, for analysis by contract laboratories in a masked fashion
providing only the guidelines of amount to be injected/tested.
July 18, 1984 Mr. Hansen received a memo from Mrs. Maria Santiago detailing a July 18, 1984
FDA visit from FDA investigator, Mr. Andres Toro, San Juan District Office, of Alcon’s
Humacao, Puerto Rico Alcon facility. Alcon was presented with a FD Form 482 for collection of
data regarding parenteral products in a nationwide survey. FDA’s inspector indicated that the
purpose of the FDA’s survey was to determine whether significant changes had been made in
parenteral product formulations and the types of complaints that had been received over the last
two years. Apparently the Puerto Rico site was now manufacturing Pantopaque, with Alcon
responsible for filter sterilization and filling the ampules. The raw material supplier was still
Eastman Kodak, Kodak Park Works, Rochester, NY. FDA inquired whether there had been
NDA changes involved. Alcon’s personnel responded yes, namely the following two changes:
1. Change in sterility testing Standard Operating Procedure to membrane filtration.
2. Labeling change to provide for change in Corporate signature.
Other changes recorded in the memo included the placement of a caution statement in the product
insert for use of plastic syringes. The dates of manufacturing of last lot released, lot code and
expiration data was Lot Code= 2-HCBM, Expiration Date 3/89, Manufactured March-1984. FDA
collected specimens of labeling used during the previous year as well as current labeling. Product
complaint files of 1982, 1983, and 1984 were reviewed. FDA specifically requested a copy of the
complaint summary page for three complaints.
Noted that two of the 1983 complaints referenced patient reaction. Asked if these
complaints were reported to FDA. It was explained to him that these complaints were
not included in the product annual report, since the reactions are already included in
the product labeling and the frequency is not considered abnormal.(*Underlining
added for emphasis).
No further comments were made and the inspection was concluded.
No 483 was issued.
Meanwhile, September 10, 1984, Dr. Newton provided All Lafayette Sales Representatives with a
copy of an June 1984 Neurology article by Dr. Meador, et al., that dealt with 2 cases of
irreversible spinal neurological deficits following myelography with metrizamide
You should maintain a copy of this article in your presentation materials so that when
you are discussing PantoPaque with a physician or technologist, reference can be
made to this article pointing out the safety of PantoPaque (*Bold added for
emphasis). versus Amipaque.
April 29, 1985, Mr. Poe of Alcon Laboratories received an irrate letter for Ms. Gaylene Tsipis,
Coordinator, Technical Drug Information Services, Drug and Poison Information Control,
Ohio who had also forwarded a copy of her letter to Kay Pearson, Chief, FDA, Division of Drug
& Biological Experience, Reports Evaluation Branch. Ms Tsipis wrote:
I recently had an occasion to contact Alcon Laboratories regarding information about
a possible adverse drug reaction ( paralysis of the lower extremities) to Pantopaque. I
had already called Lafayette Pharmacal and was told that your company actually
manufactured the drug. There seemed to be much confusion regarding who, if
anyone, could give me information in the incidence and nature of this adverse
reaction. Since the company should have both their own clinical trial data and current
adverse reaction reports as information sources, I was disconcerted that this
information did not seem to be readily available nor did there seem to be any interest
in documenting this possible adverse reaction to one of your drugs. A representative
of the company did finally call the hospital involved but the apparent “run around”
was very frustrating and time consuming considering the potential seriousness of this
I am writing this letter out of concern over the apparent lack of organization and
inability to obtain timely information of a product that has the potential for some
severe side effects/adverse reactions.
I hope future calls to your company regarding one of its products will be handled
Ms. Tsipis also sent a letter to Ms. Ann Fox, Lafayette Pharmacal regarding the same issue:
On April 1, 1985, I had an occasion to contact Lafayette Pharmacal regarding
information about a possible adverse drug reaction (paralysis of the lower extremities)
to Pantopaque involving a patient in a local hospital. While the 1985 American Drug
Index lists Lafayette as the manufacturer of this drug, your company would not accept
a collect call to report this potential problem and when I finally was able to talk to
you I was told that, in fact, Alcon Laboratories Inc. made the drug and not Lafayette.
You offered to either have someone from your Quality Assurance department or
someone from Alcon call me regarding the situation. I was not contacted by anyone
from either company and subsequently had to call Alcon myself.
October 2, 1985, Ms. Tsipis’ letter was referred within FDA to B.R. Stonecipher, Director of the
Division of Drug Quality Evaluation who sent copies to the Agency’s Directors, Division of
Onclolgy and Radiopharmaceutical Drug Products and Division of Drug and Biological
Experience with the following question:
Lafayette Pharmacal markets Pantopaque Injection which is manufactured by Alcon
Attached are copies of letters from the Drug and Poison Information Center,
Cincinnati, Ohio, containing remarks to a report of an adverse reaction.
Do your Divisions have any reason to believe that either Alcon or Lafayette are not
properly handling or reporting drug reactions or adverse experiences related to their
June 2, 1986, FDA memo by A.E. Jones, MD to the Agency’s record regarding intrathecal
Dr. Nissel has spoken of his concern about the chronic effect of pantopaque
(intrathecal). Dr. Palmer and I discussed whether some action concerning this chronic
effect should be taken now that other agents are available for myeolography. He
advised that we explore the annual usage of Pantopaque- from the annual reports.
Marc Anderson reported the following yearly distribution:
1977-78 7200 l 1980-81 2570 l 1984-85 958 l
1978-79 6500 l 1981-82 2943 l
1979-80 4600 l 1983-84 1617 l
Dr. Palmer was advised of this declining usage. (*Bold added for emphasis). He
recommended that further action would probably not be necessary (*Bold added for
emphasis). as Pantopaque was gradually being replaced as an intrathecal agent by the
newer non-ionic agent.
The agency’s memo is of interest in that in 1986 the FDA’s reviewers appeared to have viewed
the safety concern for “chronic effects” of intrathecal pantopaque as a fading issue of concern.
Pantopaque as a product was seen by FDA as rapidly exiting the myelography market with the
increased availability of other products. Therefore, the agency in 1986 determined not to view
dealing with pantopaque’s chronic issues as a high priority issue in terms of future assignment of
FDA’s manpower and resources. The declining U.S. market would take care of pantopaque.
June 18, 1987 a labeling review of Pantopaque was conducted by Alcon’s staff and documents the
uncertainty with which they attempted to begin to create adequate and informative labeling for
Pantopaque. The agenda for the Alcon meeting included a review of the drug experience
complaint record. For the previous year there had been “13 patient complaints” recorded that
included arachnoiditis, focal seizure, burning in the lower back, nausea, allergic phenomenon,
suspected meningitis- but was not considered as product-related. There was no mention whether
any of these reports were filed with FDA as adverse events as required by FDCA, or if the number
13 reflects only the number of complaints filed with FDA, and not the number of patient
complaints actually received.
In terms of the 1986-1987 medical literature, Dr. Lorenzetti, after reviewing the literature
indicated that there had been “nothing new”. In terms of their legal review, there was one suit
pending in appeal with another not yet filed in Dade County, Florida. The recommended action
for the meeting was to send the labeling review comments to Dr. Corsica for further comments.
The new labeling was to be available by November, 1987.
Adverse Reactions: (Add) Severe arachnoiditis has been reported.
There are the following handwritten notes:
? statement that patient should be injected only by personnel trained in proper technique for
injecting and removing pantopaque.
* Should we say Pantopaque is a 2nd line medium? It does have increased % of
arachnoiditis-so state? Use when conditions of a patient make administration of water
solubles contraindicated or otherwise dangerous.
-Table listing % of reactions
[Put comment about increase % complications with patients with multiple sclerosis .
Kaufman, Lancet 1976 in warnings, or precautions]
Note especially the incidence of arachnoiditis (This is the primary side-effect used as an
argument against Panto.) What to do to minimize its risk, I question need to list symptoms
associated with arachnoiditis?
No need to note arachnoiditis again under “rare instance”...
Removal of Pantopaque
?Note that attempted complete removal is very improtant to decrease risk of arachnoiditis.
I am not familiar with the mandatory inclusions for inserts. That would be helpful.
Differences between warnings/precautions?
August 17, 1987, John Spurill, Vice President, Surgical/Specialty Alcon, seeing the declining
Pantopaque market, sent a memo to Lee Hansen, General Manager and President of Alcon that
After careful analysis of the future business prospects for Pantopaque, the current
Pantopaque inventory levels and the offer for raw material from Kodak, we have
come to the following conclusions.
-We should inform Kodak we are not interested in an additional raw material.
-We should maintain all existing finished goods and work in process in
anticipation of future Pantopaque orders. Lafayette has indicated a need for 3
ml during 1987.
- We should explore alternatives for disposing and or other uses for the
Pantopaque equipment, as no further production other than packaging of
existing worked in process is planned.
Therefore, as of 1987 , Alcon management had determined that they would silently withdraw
from active Pantopaque manufacturing and marketing. There would be no legal requirement for a
manufacturer to notify FDA of a marketing decision to withdraw a product from the US market
due to declining use. Pantopaque was NOT being “recalled” from the market to address issues of
safety and effectiveness, and the firm did not consider the product to be in violation of the FDCA.
Pantopaque product made in 1987 would have a product shelf life through 1992. Alcon’s plan
was to continue to sell Pantopaque to the medical community for imaging until the existing stock
was depleted and/or expired. FDA would not have been informed that there were any “safety
issues” with Pantopaque and if a new use were to resurface for the drug, the product could be
March 15, 1990, FDA’s Division of Medical Imaging, Surgical and Dental Drug Products,
Medical Imaging Group, headed by Robert West, with Dr. Dominick Conca as medical officer
recorded a telephone conversation with Scott Kerbey , Inside Edition, an investigative reporter.
Mr. Kerbey originally had called FDA on March 14, 1990 to speak with Mr. West, but the phone
call had been rescheduled for the 15th. Mr. Kerbey was calling FDA and Mr. West to inquire
about a patient that had undergone at least three myelograms in the mid-1970s with introduction
of the drug Pantopaque, who was now severely paralyzed with arachnoiditis. The patient had
attempted to sue Alcon Laboratories, but had been unsuccessful since the statute of limitations
had appeared to have elapsed.
Mr. Kerbey now contacted FDA and Mr. West because of a past communication between the
patient regarding the possible occurrence of arachnoiditis and the occurrence of the risk in a 1970
package insert. Furthermore, Mr. West had indicated to the patient that in the early 1970s it
would not be reasonably expected that the patient consumer would have been aware of the
potential adverse reactions that may occur with a myelographic agent. Mr. West indicated to Mr.
Kerbey that the occurrence of arachnoiditis had been present within the current package insert.
When Mr. Kerbey asked if there had been any other myelographic alternative at that time, Mr.
West deferred his question to Dr. Conca, Medical Officer at FDA. Dr. Conca indicated that
Pantopaque was the only “approved” myelographic contrast agent available in the U.S. in the
1970's for myelography. Mr. Kerbey asked whether there was a need for Pantopaque in today’s
clinical practice setting. Dr. Conca indicated that Pantopaque’s use had declined significantly
since the advent and wider use of newer water soluble myelographic agents. He stated that the
drug may still have some limited clinical use, e.g., in those patients who require myeolography
and have had an adverse event secondary to the use of a water soluble myelographic agent, or in
patients who have a spinal cord compression or spinal canal block. In the latter group of patients,
it may be desirous to use a rather small amount of Pantopaque to help delineate the exact level of
cord compression or spinal block, usually for an emergency or urgent therapy, and to determine
relief of compression or block in follow-up to therapy. These patients represented a fairly ill
population or a group with metastatic cancer to the spine and a reduced life expectancy.
Therefore, to FDA there was still a clinical place for Pantopaque on the US market.
Dr. Conca indicated that Pantopaque was the only myelographic agent that required removal after
diagnostic myelography. Some drug usually would remain within the spinal canal even after
meticulous and appropriate myelographic technique.
In response to Mr. Kerbey’s questions, Mr. West indicated that FDA’s mechanism to inform the
medical community about potential adverse reactions to drugs was through the package insert.
FDA does not attempt to inform the general public directly about such potential adverse reactions,
but would inform the public directly if adverse reactions occurred at such frequency or magnitude
that public safety may be jeopardized. Mr. Kerbey was also informed that it was Mr. West’s
opinion that the potential occurrence of arachnoiditis was well documented in the myelography
sections of radiological textbooks. Mr. West provided Mr. Kerbey with some literature citations
found in the Pantopaque package insert.
Mr. Kerbey asked about the frequency of reporting adverse reactions for Pantopaque, especially
arachnoiditis. Mr. West provided a list of reports that were present in the FDA’s adverse event
reports database through March 1990.
March 18, 1990, Mr. Kerbey called back to request a face-to-face interview with Dr. Conca and
Mr. West at FDA. Mr. Kerbey was referred to direct his inquiries to FDA’s Press Office.
Mr. West’s search of adverse reaction reports filed with the FDA through March 15, 1990 from
any source with the occurrence of “arachnoiditis” for “Pantoapque” produced 16 reports with the
following breakdown: 9 females, 6 males, one sex unspecified;
1977-5; 1983-1; 1984-1; 1986- 2; 1987-4; 1988-3; and 1989- 4.
June 22, 1990, there was a FDA memo of a phone call made to FDA by Henry Sanchez, FDA
District Office, New Orleans, LA regarding NDA 5-319:
Mr Henry Sanchez of the FDA District Office called this division to get information
on the contrast material Pantopaque (NDA 5-319). His concern was that the product
had been mentioned on a television talk show hosted by Geraldo Rivera and he had
received a request for further information from a consumer.
Dr. Eric Jones of this division explained the uses and side effects of the product and
the current labeling was faxed to Mr. Sanchez.
September 26, 1990 Alcon Laboratories sent a 15 day report to FDA regarding NDA 5-319
regarding “Increased Frequency Report” (IFR):
Report Interval: March 1990- September 1990
Comparative Time Interval: February 1989- February 1990
Report of the adverse reaction of “arachnoiditis”, during a comparative interval- 2
reports, the current report interval- 25 reports.
A class action suit naming twenty-five plaintiffs (*Bold added for emphasis). has
been received with the allegation that the named plaintiffs “have suffered” and will
suffer severe and permanent personal injuries, ranging from chronic pain to paraplegia,
quadriplegia, and death from the severely painful, debilitating and incurable disease
known as arachnoiditis.
*We are also aware of a report in the Wall Street Journal of August 30, 1990, page 84,
which makes reference to a suit of 300 plaintiffs.(*Bold added for emphasis).
FDA indicated on Alcon’s information report for the IFR that the agency had no plans for further
action in response to the IFR submission beyond continued monitoring of spontaneous reports.
In 1993, there were scattered articles in the U.S. medical literature that discussed the dilution of
anesthetic agents with Pantopaque for use in injected epidural anesthesia. The pantopaque
was added to help prolong the anesthetic effects of the drugs.
The Federal Register, August 5, 1996 N61 FR 40649, published FDA’s withdrawal of Approval
of 87 New Drug Applications effective September 4, 1996. One of the applications withdrawn
by the agency was NDA 5-319, Pantopaque, manufactured by Alcon Laboratories, Fort Worth,
Texas. FDA indicated that the holder of the withdrawn applications had notified the agency in
writing that the drug products were no longer marketed by them and requested that the approval of
the application be withdrawn.
In the U.S. medical literature, J. Vasc Interve Radiol, Nov-Dec; 11(10):1285-95, Long-term
outcome of embolotherapy and surgery for high-flow extremity arteriovenous
malformation, RI White, et al. from Yale University, there was a discussion of the use of a
mixture of cyanoacrylate dilutes with either “iophendylate” or “ethiodized oil” (iodinized poppy
seed oil) in 19 of 20 patients. No specific source for the materials was identified.
VI. Pantopaque’s Labeling
Labeling: Selected Sections of FDA’s 21 Code of Federal Regulations and Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act regarding Labeling and a Manufacturer’s Responsibilities
21 CFR § 201.5 Drugs; adequate directions for use.
Adequate directions for use means directions under which the layman can use a drug
safely and for the purposes for which it is intended. (Section 201.128 defines "intended
use.") Directions for use may be inadequate because, among other reasons, of omission,
in whole or in part, or incorrect specification of:
(a) Statements of all conditions, purposes, or uses for which such drug is intended,
including conditions, purposes, or uses for which it is prescribed, recommended, or
suggested in its oral, written, printed, or graphic advertising, and conditions, purposes, or
uses for which the drug is commonly used; except that such statements shall not refer to
conditions, uses, or purposes for which the drug can be safely used only under the
supervision of a practitioner licensed by law and for which it is advertised solely to such
(b) Quantity of dose, including usual quantities for each of the uses for which it is
intended and usual quantities for persons of different ages and different physical
© Frequency of administration or application.
(d) Duration of administration or application.
(e) Time of administration or application (in relation to time of meals, time of onset of
symptoms, or other time factors).
(f) Route or method of administration or application.
(g) Preparation for use, i.e., shaking, dilution, adjustment of temperature, or, other
manipulation or process.
[41 FR 6908, Feb. 13, 1976]
21 CFR § 201.6 Drugs; misleading statements.
(a) Among representations in the labeling of a drug which render such drug misbranded is
a false or misleading representation with respect to another drug or a device or a food or
[41 FR 6908, Feb. 13, 1976]
21 CFR § 201.56 General requirements on content and format of labeling for human
Prescription drug labeling described in §201.100(d) shall contain the information in the
format required by §201.57 and shall meet the following general requirements:
(a) The labeling shall contain a summary of the essential scientific information needed for
the safe and effective use of the drug.
(b) The labeling shall be informative and accurate and neither promotional in tone nor
false or misleading in any particular.
© The labeling shall be based whenever possible on data derived from human
experience. No implied claims or suggestions of drug use may be made if there is
inadequate evidence of safety or a lack of substantial evidence of effectiveness.
Conclusions based on animal data but necessary for safe and effective use of the drug in
humans shall be identified as such and included with human data in the appropriate
section of the labeling, headings for which are listed in paragraph (d) of this section.
(1) The labeling shall contain specific information required under §201.57 under the
following section headings and in the following order:
Indications and Usage.
Drug Abuse and Dependence.
Dosage and Administration.
(2) The labeling may contain the following additional section headings if appropriate and
if in compliance with §201.57 (l) and (m):
Animal Pharmacology and/or Animal Toxicology.
(3) The labeling may omit any section or subsection of the labeling format if clearly
(4) The labeling may contain a "Product Title" section preceding the "Description"
section and containing only the information required by §201.57(a)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), and
(iv) and §201.100(e). The information required by §201.57(a)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), and (iv)
shall appear in the "Description" section of the labeling, whether or not it also appears in
a "Product Title."
(e) The labeling shall contain the date of the most recent revision of the labeling,
identified as such, placed prominently immediately after the last section of the labeling.
[44 FR 37462, June 26, 1979]
21 CFR § 201.100 Prescription drugs for human use.
A drug subject to the requirements of section 503(b)(1) of the act shall be exempt from
section 502(f)(1) if all the following conditions are met:
(a) The drug is:
(i) In the possession of a person (or his agents or employees) regularly and lawfully
engaged in the manufacture, transportation, storage, or wholesale distribution of
prescription drugs; or
(ii) In the possession of a retail, hospital, or clinic pharmacy, or a public health agency,
regularly and lawfully engaged in dispensing prescription drugs; or
(iii) In the possession of a practitioner licensed by law to administer or prescribe such
(2) It is to be dispensed in accordance with section 503(b)
(b) The label of the drug bears:
(1) The statement "Caution: Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription" and
(2) The recommended or usual dosage and
(3) The route of administration, if it is not for oral use; and
(4) The quantity or proportion of each active ingredient, as well as the information
required by section 502 (d) and (e); and
(1) Labeling on or within the package from which the drug is to be dispensed bears
adequate information for its use, including indications, effects, dosages, routes, methods,
and frequency and duration of administration, and any relevant hazards,
contraindications, side effects, and precautions under which practitioners licensed by law
to administer the drug can use the drug safely and for the purposes for which it is
intended, including all purposes for which it is advertised or represented; and...
(d) Any labeling, as defined in section 201(m) of the act, whether or not it is on or within
a package from which the drug is to be dispensed, distributed by or on behalf of the
manufacturer, packer, or distributor of the drug, that furnishes or purports to furnish
information for use or which prescribes, recommends, or suggests a dosage for the use of
the drug (other than dose information required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section and
(1) Adequate information for such use, including indications, effects, dosages, routes,
methods, and frequency and duration of administration and any relevant warnings,
hazards, contraindications, side effects, and precautions, under which practitioners
licensed by law to administer the drug can use the drug safely and for the purposes for
which it is intended, including all conditions for which it is advertised or represented; and
if the article is subject to section 505 of the act, the parts of the labeling providing such
information are the same in language and emphasis as labeling approved or permitted,
under the provisions of section 505, and any other parts of the labeling are consistent with
and not contrary to such approved or permitted labeling; and
(2) The same information concerning the ingredients of the drug as appears on the label
and labeling on or within the package from which the drug is to be dispensed.
[40 FR 13998, Mar. 27, 1975, as amended at 40 FR 58799, Dec. 18, 1975; 42 FR 15674,
Mar. 22, 1977; 43 FR 37989, Aug. 25, 1978; 44 FR 20659, Apr. 6, 1979; 44 FR 37467,
June 26, 1979; 45 FR 25777, Apr. 15, 1980; 63 FR 26698, May 13, 1998; 64 FR 400,
Jan. 5, 1999]
21 CFR § 201.128 Meaning of "intended uses".
The words intended uses or words of similar import in §§201.5, 201.115,201.117,
201.119,201.120, and 201.122 refer to the objective intent of the persons legally
responsible for the labeling of drugs. The intent is determined by such persons'
expressions or may be shown by the circumstances surrounding the distribution of the
article. This objective intent may, for example, be shown by labeling claims, advertising
matter, or oral or written statements by such persons or their representatives. It may be
shown by the circumstances that the article is, with the knowledge of such persons or
their representatives, offered and used for a purpose for which it is neither labeled nor
advertised. The intended uses of an article may change after it has been introduced into
interstate commerce by its manufacturer. If, for example, a packer, distributor, or seller
intends an article for different uses than those intended by the person from whom he
received the drug, such packer, distributor, or seller is required to supply adequate
labeling in accordance with the new intended uses. But if a manufacturer knows, or has
knowledge of facts that would give him notice, that a drug introduced into interstate
commerce by him is to be used for conditions, purposes, or uses other than the ones for
which he offers it, he is required to provide adequate labeling for such a drug which
accords with such other uses to which the article is to be put.
[41 FR 6911, Feb. 13, 1976]
21 CFR § 314.81 Other postmarketing reports. [*Initial date for CFR citation-
(a) Applicability. Each applicant shall make the reports for each of its approved
applications and abbreviated applications required under this section and section 505(k)
of the act.
(b) Reporting requirements. The applicant shall submit to the Food and Drug
Administration at the specified times two copies of the following reports:
(1) NDA-Field alert report. The applicant shall submit information of the following kinds
about distributed drug products and articles to the FDA district office that is responsible
for the facility involved within 3 working days of receipt by the applicant. The
information may be provided by telephone or other rapid communication means, with
prompt written followup. The report and its mailing cover should be plainly marked:
"NDA-Field Alert Report."
(i) Information concerning any incident that causes the drug product or its labeling to be
mistaken for, or applied to, another article.
(ii) Information concerning any bacteriological contamination, or any significant
chemical, physical, or other change or deterioration in the distributed drug product, or any
failure of one or more distributed batches of the drug product to meet the specifications
established for it in the application.
(2) Annual report. The applicant shall submit each year within 60 days of the anniversary
date of U.S. approval of the application, two copies of the report to the FDA division
responsible for reviewing the application. Each annual report is required to be
accompanied by a completed transmittal Form FDA 2252 (Transmittal of Periodic
Reports for Drugs for Human Use), and must include all the information required
under this section that the applicant received or otherwise obtained during the
annual reporting interval (* Bold added for emphasis) that ends on the U.S. anniversary
date. The report is required to contain in the order listed:
(i) Summary. A brief summary of significant new information from the previous year
that might affect the safety, effectiveness, or labeling of the drug product. The report is
also required to contain a brief description of actions the applicant has taken or intends to
take as a result of this new information, for example, submit a labeling supplement, add a
warning to the labeling, or initiate a new study. The summary shall briefly state whether
labeling supplements for pediatric use have been submitted and whether new studies in
the pediatric population to support appropriate labeling for the pediatric population have
been initiated. Where possible, an estimate of patient exposure to the drug product, with
special reference to the pediatric population (neonates, infants, children, and adolescents)
shall be provided, including dosage form.
(ii) Distribution data. Information about the quantity of the drug product distributed
under the approved application, including that distributed to distributors. The information
is required to include the National Drug Code (NDC) number, the total number of dosage
units of each strength or potency distributed (e.g., 100,000/5 milligram tablets, 50,000/10
milliliter vials), and the quantities distributed for domestic use and the quantities
distributed for foreign use. Disclosure of financial or pricing data is not required.
(iii) Labeling. Currently used professional labeling, patient brochures or package inserts
(if any), a representative sample of the package labels, and a summary of any changes in
labeling that have been made since the last report listed by date in the order in which they
were implemented, or if no changes, a statement of that fact.
(iv) Chemistry, manufacturing, and controls changes.
(a) Reports of experiences, investigations, studies, or tests involving chemical or physical
properties, or any other properties of the drug (such as the drug's behavior or properties in
relation to microorganisms, including both the effects of the drug on microorganisms and
the effects of microorganisms on the drug). These reports are only required for new
information that may affect FDA's previous conclusions about the safety or effectiveness
of the drug product.
(b)A full description of the manufacturing and controls changes not requiring a
supplemental application under §314.70 (b) and ©, listed by date in the order in which
they were implemented.
(v) Nonclinical laboratory studies. Copies of unpublished reports and summaries of
published reports of new toxicological findings in animal studies and in vitro studies
(e.g., mutagenicity) conducted by, or otherwise obtained by, the applicant concerning the
ingredients in the drug product. The applicant shall submit a copy of a published report if
requested by FDA.
(vi) Clinical data.(a) Published clinical trials of the drug (or abstracts of them), including
clinical trials on safety and effectiveness; clinical trials on new uses; biopharmaceutic,
pharmacokinetic, and clinical pharmacology studies; and reports of clinical experience
pertinent to safety (for example, epidemiologic studies or analyses of experience in a
monitored series of patients) conducted by or otherwise obtained by the applicant.
Review articles, papers describing the use of the drug product in medical practice, papers
and abstracts in which the drug is used as a research tool, promotional articles, press
clippings, and papers that do not contain tabulations or summaries of original data should
not be reported.
(b) Summaries of completed unpublished clinical trials, or prepublication manuscripts if
available, conducted by, or otherwise obtained by, the applicant. Supporting information
should not be reported. (A study is considered completed 1 year after it is concluded.)
© Analysis of available safety and efficacy data in the pediatric population and changes
proposed in the labeling based on this information. An assessment of data needed to
ensure appropriate labeling for the pediatric population shall be included.
(3) Other reporting-
(i) Advertisements and promotional labeling. The applicant shall submit specimens of
mailing pieces and any other labeling or advertising devised for promotion of the drug
product at the time of initial dissemination of the labeling and at the time of initial
publication of the advertisement for a prescription drug product. Mailing pieces and
labeling that are designed to contain samples of a drug product are required to be
complete, except the sample of the drug product may be omitted. Each submission is
required to be accompanied by a completed transmittal Form FDA-2253 (Transmittal of
Advertisements and Promotional Labeling for Drugs for Human Use) and i
Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:55 PM
include a copy of the product's current professional labeling. Form FDA-2253 may be
obtained from the PHS Forms and Publications Distribution Center, 12100 Parklawn Dr.,
Rockville, MD 20857.
(iii) Withdrawal of approved drug product from sale. (a) The applicant shall submit on
Form FDA 2657 (Drug Product Listing), within 15 working days of the withdrawal from
sale of a drug product, the following information:
(1) The National Drug Code (NDC) number.
(2) The identity of the drug product by established name and by proprietary name.
(3) The new drug application or abbreviated application number.
(4) The date of withdrawal from sale. It is requested but not required that the reason for
withdrawal of the drug product from sale be included with the information.
(b) The applicant shall submit each Form FDA-2657 to the Drug Listing Branch (HFD-
334), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 5600
Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.
© Reporting under paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section constitutes compliance with the
requirements under §207.30(a) of this chapter to report "at the discretion of the registrant
when the change occurs."
(d) Withdrawal of approval. If an applicant fails to make reports required under this
section, FDA may withdraw approval of the application and, thus, prohibit continued
marketing of the drug product that is the subject of the application.
(Collection of information requirements approved by the Office of Management and
Budget under control number 0910-0001)
[50 FR 7493, Feb. 22, 1985; 50 FR 14212, Apr. 11, 1985, as amended at 50 FR 21238,
May 23, 1985; 55 FR 11580, Mar. 29, 1990; 57 FR 17983, Apr. 28, 1992; 63 FR 66670,
Dec. 2, 1998; 64 FR 401, Jan. 5, 1999; 65 FR 64617, Oct. 30, 2000]
[Effective Date Note: At 66 FR 10815, Feb. 20, 2001, the effective date for the regulation
at 65 FR 64617, Oct. 30, 2000, was delayed to Apr. 30, 2001.]
Selected Sections of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA)
 Sec. 321. Definitions; generally
For the purposes of this chapter--
(b) The term "interstate commerce" means (1) commerce between any State or
Territory and any place outside thereof, and (2) commerce within the District
of Columbia or within any other Territory not organized with a legislative
(g)(1) The term "drug" means (A) articles recognized in the official United
States Pharmacopoeia, official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United
States, or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them;
and (B) articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation,
treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals; and © articles
(other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the
body of man or other animals; and (D) articles intended for use as a
component of any article specified in clauses (A), (B), or © of this
(k) The term "label" means a display of written, printed, or graphic matter
upon the immediate container of any article; and a requirement made by or
under authority of this chapter that any word, statement, or other
information appear on the label shall not be considered to be complied with
unless such word, statement, or other information also appears on the outside
container or wrapper, if any there be, of the retail package of such article,
or is easily legible through the outside container or wrapper.
(m) The term "labeling" means all labels and other written, printed, or
graphic matter (1) upon any article or any of its containers or wrappers, or
(2) accompanying such article.
(n) If an article is alleged to be misbranded because the labeling or
advertising is misleading, then in determining whether the labeling or
advertising is misleading there shall be taken into account (among other
things) not only representations made or suggested by statement, word,
design, device, or any combination thereof, but also the extent to which the
labeling or advertising fails to reveal facts material in the light of such
representations or material with respect to consequences which may result
from the use of the article to which the labeling or advertising relates
under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling or advertising thereof
or under such conditions of use as are customary or usual.
(bb) The term "knowingly" or "knew" means that a person, with respect to
(1) has actual knowledge of the information, or
(2) acts in deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard of the truth or
falsity of the information.
(cc) For purposes of section 335a of this title, the term "high managerial
(A) an officer or director of a corporation or an association,
(B) a partner of a partnership, or
© any employee or other agent of a corporation, association, or
having duties such that the conduct of such officer, director, partner,
employee, or agent may fairly be assumed to represent the policy of the
corporation, association, or partnership, and
(2) includes persons having management responsibility for--
(A) submissions to the Food and Drug Administration regarding the
development or approval of any drug product,
(B) production, quality assurance, or quality control of any drug
© research and development of any drug product.
 Sec. 351. Adulterated drugs and devices
A drug or device shall be deemed to be adulterated--
(B) if it is a drug
and the methods used in, or the facilities or controls used for, its
manufacture, processing, packing, or holding do not conform to or are not
operated or administered in conformity with current good manufacturing
practice to assure that such drug meets the requirements of this chapter as
to safety and has the identity and strength, and meets the quality and purity
characteristics, which it purports or is represented to possess;
 Sec. 352. Misbranded drugs and devices
A drug or device shall be deemed to be misbranded--
(a) False or misleading label
If its labeling is false or misleading in any particular.
(f) Directions for use and warnings on label
Unless its labeling bears (1) adequate directions for use; and (2) such
adequate warnings against use in those pathological conditions or by children
where its use may be dangerous to health, or against unsafe dosage or methods
or duration of administration or application, in such manner and form, as are
necessary for the protection of users, except that where any requirement
of clause (1) of this subsection, as applied to any drug or device, is not
necessary for the protection of the public health, the Secretary shall
promulgate regulations exempting such drug or device from such requirement.
(n) Prescription drug advertisements: established name; quantitative formula;
side effects, contraindications, and effectiveness; prior approval; false
advertising; labeling; construction of the Convention on Psychotropic
Substances. In the case of any prescription drug distributed or offered for sale in any
State, unless the manufacturer, packer, or distributor thereof includes in
all advertisements and other descriptive printed matter issued or caused to
be issued by the manufacturer, packer, or distributor with respect to that
drug a true statement of (1) the established name as defined in subsection
(e) of this section, printed prominently and in type at least half as large
as that used for any trade or brand name thereof, (2) the formula showing
quantitatively each ingredient of such drug to the extent required for labels
under subsection (e) of this section, and (3) such other information in brief
summary relating to side effects, contraindications, and effectiveness as
shall be required in regulations which shall be issued by the Secretary in
accordance with the procedure specified in section 371(e) of this title,
except that (A) except in extraordinary circumstances, no regulation issued
under this subsection shall require prior approval by the Secretary of the
content of any advertisement, and (B) no advertisement of a prescription
drug, published after the effective date of regulations issued under this
subsection applicable to advertisements of prescription drugs, shall with
respect to the matters specified in this subsection or covered by such
regulations, be subject to the provisions of sections 52 to 57 of title 15.
This subsection (n) shall not be applicable to any printed matter which the
Secretary determines to be labeling as defined in section 321(m) of this
[June 25; Oct. 29, 1992]
Review of Pantopaque’s “Package Inserts”
The package insert for NDA 5-319 had the indicated dose for Pantopaque, cleared by the FDA in
the NDA as 2-5cc., the approved intended use was for myelography, especially in the lumbar
The results of animal studies with Pantopaque, particularly those conducted by Steinhausen before
NDA approval demonstrated the potential for severe arachnoiditis, lack of absorption, and
granulomatous inflammation with neurological deficit was not adequately presented within the
drug safety data either in the filed NDA, FDA communications, nor in the proposed labeling that
was the result of the approved NDA.
Lafayette Pharmacal, Eastman Kodak Company, Dr. Strain, Dr. Warren, Radiopaque Group,
University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry did not provide FDA with the
complete animal experience of Dr. Steinhausen nor the negative acute clinical experience obtained
from the University of Minnesota regarding difficulty with Pantopaque removal and poor
myelography imaging quality. The animal and clinical safety information known by Kodak, Dr.
Strain, Dr. Warren, Radiopaque Group, Rochester University Medical and Dental School and
Lafayette Pharmacal was not represented within the proposed labeling submitted to FDA nor did
it appear to ever have been provided adequately and honestly to the FDA within the NDA’s safety
information. The sponsors of the NDA, in a unique opportunity with relatively new FDCA
requirements for supporting product safety, chose to focus the 1942 - 44 World War II era NDA
only on favorable physician experience reports gained from treating military patients. The
sponsors were able to legally manage to avoid a more rigorous requirement for short and long70
term follow-up, acute animal toxicity studies, human well-controlled clinical trials, by
misrepresenting the safety outcomes of both clinical and animal experience with Pantopaque
administered by intrathecal injection. As was later determined by FDA’s reviewers during the
Agency’s review of IND 1-161 and NDA 16-377 for Pantopaque II, the firm had been allowed to
avoid providing acute toxicity animal studies for support of Pantopaque safety.
Pantopaque’s sponsors in 1944 simply were able to get around supplying complete and forthright
animal and clinical data for Pantopaque to FDA. As a result of this successful deception, they
knowlingly also did not provide adequate and truthful product information to physicians. The
responsibility for providing adequate labeling resides with the “sponsor” of the product and not
with the FDA. FDA, Congress and the requirements of the 1938 FDCA were designed to ensure
the safety of drug products entering the US market. The laws and FDA assumes that a responsible
drug sponsor will be honest and forthright in all information provided to FDA. FDA law is based
on an Honor System, and it is a violation of the law for a sponsor to provide FDA with fraudulent
data. The sponsor of Pantopaque intentionally provided FDA with misleading information and
then created inadequate and misleading labeling for Pantopaque, promoted unapproved and offlabel
use of their product, and kept important safety data from the FDA, health care providers,
and the public. Commencing with the initial marketing of Pantopaque, the sponsors of
Pantopaque’s labeling and promotion did not provide adequate warnings for safe use to
physicians or the FDA and intentionally misrepresented significant preclinical and clinical
experience with Pantopaque. Examples of false and misleading statements within Panopaque’s
“The dosage which causes death in 24 hours in 50% of experimental animals (LD50)”
(* LD50 does not appear to have been obtained.)
“Because the medium is absorbed, there is associated a moderate toxicity.”
“No toxic phenomena have been observed, however, following intrathecal injection in
rabbits and dogs even when massive doses have been administered”
“In agreement with this, reports from several thousand myelograms in which 2-5 cc.
of this medium has been used show that Pantopaque is well tolerated even when left
in the spinal canal.”
“In those cases where the bulk of the contrast medium has been removed using the
technique of Kubik and Hampton*, the small amount of the material that is left is
usually absorbed within 2 months”.
“Clinical reports indicate that the incidence and the severity of the side effects
following Pantopaque myelography with aspiration of the medium is but slightly
greater than with ordinary lumbar puncture.”
“In 10-30 % of such cases there may be transient symptomatic reactions consisting of
slight temperature elevations and increase in symptoms referable to a back condition.”
“When the medium is not removed, similar transient side effects occur with a slight
elevation of temperature in a greater percent of patients.”
Removal of Pantopaque
“It should be possible to remove 80% to 90% of the injected Pantopaque without
In 1969 FDA wrote to Lafayette Pharmacal and requested that changes be made to their package
inserts for Pantopaque to bring it into better compliance with prescription labeling requirements.
FDA’s indication for Pantopaque was still that it was intended for myelography. ( * FDA
indicated no claims regarding use for specific areas of the spine nor pathology detection.) FDA
requested that the statement regarding absorption be deleted, and that more information be added
to the adverse reactions, contraindications and precautions sections, and that the amount being
commonly administered from FDA’s own review of the literature should be 3 to 12 cc. FDA then
requested that the new insert be submitted to FDA for agency review.
FDA requested that Lafayette add the following bullet points of information to their insert:
A. Severe arachnoiditis producing headache, fever, meningismus, pains in the back
and extremities and elevations in the white blood count and the protein content of the
B. The incidence and severity of arachnoiditis are generally increased when active
subarachnoid bleeding has been induced by the lumber puncture.
C. Rare instances of the development of lipoid granulomas, obstruction of the
ventricular system and venous intravasation producing pulmonary emboli.
Lafayette made the following modifications to their Adverse Reactions of their physician insert,
down playing the FDA’s “emphasis” on the severity of the reactions in terms of the potential risk
for each adverse event to occur:
(* Note all Lafayette Pharmacal Pantopaque labeling changes were required to be reviewed and
approved by Eastman Kodak staff. Lafayette Pharmacal had been dealing with the FDA for the
unsuccessful approval of Pantopaque II (15%) and had been conducting animal studies with
Hazleton Laboratories that had demonstrated the significant long-term risks of Pantopaque I).)
Occasional severe arachnoiditis producing headache, meningismus, pains in the back
and extremities and elevations in the white blood count and the protein content of the
cerebrospinal fluid. The incidence and severity of arachnoiditis are generally
increased when active subarachnoid bleeding has been induced by the lumbar
Rare instances of the development of lipoid granuloma, obstruction of the ventricular
system and venous intravasation producing pulmonary emboli have been reported.
May 28, 1971, communication from FDA to Lafayette of the Drug Safety and Efficacy
Implentation (DESI) review by the NAS-NRC indicated that the review panel recommended that
the following line be deleted from Pantopaque’s package insert labeling:
“The small amount of material that is left is usually absorbed within two months.”
Examples of Information not included in Pantopaque’s Package Insert
February 7, 1972, Lafayette Pharmacal had been informed by Dr. Scott, a physician, the
hospital and the distributor Picker, that two patients at Holy Family Hospital, Altanta, GA
injected with 6 cc each of Pantopaque had developed: cerebral edema, focal and grand mal
seizures, hypertension, loss of bowel and bladder control, coma, aspiration pneumonia 2 hours
after injection of Pantopaque with xylocaine using resusable myelography trays made by the
hospital. Both patients had only ½ cc of Pantopaque retrievable after imaging.
Lafayette notified Eastman Kodak Company of the incident immediately. The hospital had
informed the FDA’s Atlanta District Office. The FDA’s inspector inquired of Dr. Kunz whether
the problems had been adequately included within product labeling. Dr. Kunz indicated in his
note that he did not provide the inspector with an answer. The FDA inspector took samples of
the product back to the FDA.
The physician, Dr. Scott, was informed by Lafayette management, who were not physicians, that
80 to 90% of the material should be able to removed without difficulty, and the physician was
provided two articles. One article was regarding the risks of hospital prepared myelographic
trays: British Journal of Radiology 34 (No. 405): 596- 601, 1961- Nerve Root Radiology, K.
Bleasel. The second article, an article frequently provided by Lafayette to physicians, not
specifically dealing with Pantopaque but with general intrathecal risks of residual detergents in
antiseptic preparation of the skin or remaining in cleaned syringes and needles was: R.A. Smith
and E.H. Conner, Experimental Study of Intrathecal Detergents, Anesthesiology 1962 23: 5-
In follow-up, February 9, 1972, a FDA inspector from Indianapolis District Office arrived at
Lafayette Pharmacal to speak directly with Mr. W.S. Bucke regarding the incident at Atlanta, GA
following up on the complaint that had been received at FDA. The inspector reviewed the
documentation for the specific lot in question in Atlanta and inquired of Mr. Bucke whether
similar complaints had been received for the lot or any other lots. Lafayette responded that there
had been no other complaints to the best of their knowledge.
In terms of Lafayette’s documentation of complaints received by the firm associated with acute
symptoms of aseptic meningitis or chemical meningitis, in the 1970's Lafayette frequently
provided physicians with articles regarding acute symptoms associated with intrathecal
introduction of detergents due to processing of syringes and needles and idiosyncratic reactions
with anesthetic agents. The acute meningeal symptoms being reported, also termed “chemical
meningitis”, were similar to the acute meningeal reactions seen within animal studies throughout
the history of Pantopaque. However, Lafayette chose not to include this animal or clinical
interaction information or the pertinent literature references in their physician insert nor did they
appear to provide the information or the pertinent references to the FDA in 1972.
1979 Pantopaque labeling contained two literature citations: Kvernland, et al. Radiology, 72,
562-568 (1959) and Kubik and Hampton, NEJM, 224,455 (1941). There was no mention of the
use of anesthetic agents or the risk of significant acute symptoms associated with the
introduction of detergents. On 10/29/1979 labeling, both Alcon Laboratories (Puerto Rico)
Inc., and Humacao, Puerto Rico appeared on Pantopaque physician inserts. In 1979, Alcon
began to revise the physician insert for Pantopaque once again.
January 1980 Lafayette/ Alcon released their modified package insert. Either the Chynn or
Cuatico myelography needle from Becton Dickenson, Rutherford, NJ. was recommended for
injection of Pantopaque along with the two appropriate literature citations regarding the needles.
Still the insert had no mention of the risk of aseptic or chemical meningitis associated with the
introduction of detergents, or information about the acute and chronic findings that were
identified in animal studies. There was also no mention within the insert of the findings at
Hazelton Laboratories of the 1967-1969 acute and long-term, namely granulomatous,
obliterative and/or adhesive arachnoiditis and neurological deficit, reactions previously seen
during animal studies for Pantopaque. The labeling did not add information regarding the
potential for both short and long-term permanent adverse neurological manifestations, also
documented within the reports of litigation that had been received by Lafayette beginning in at
least the early 1960's as seen in the complaint records.
The 1980 labeling also added the need for product “filtration” of Pantopaque with a 5.0 u filter
for removal of glass particles.
Misleading statements contained within the 1980 Pantopaque package insert:
(*Examples of false and misleading information of the 1943-44 insert that may persist in the
Animal Pharmacology and Animal Toxicology:
“The dosage which causes death in 24 hours in 50% of experimental animals (LD50)”
“Because the medium is absorbed, there is associated a moderate toxicity.”
“No toxic phenomena have been observed, however, following intrathecal injection in
rabbits and dogs even when massive doses have been administered”
“In agreement with this, reports from myelograms in which 12-30 cc. of this medium
has been used show that Pantopaque is well tolerated.”
“Clinical reports indicate that the incidence and the severity of the side effects
following Pantopaque myelography with aspiration of the medium is but slightly
greater than with ordinary lumbar puncture.”
“In 10-30 % of such cases there may be transient symptomatic reactions consisting of
slight temperature elevations and increase in symptoms referable to a back condition.”
“When the medium is not removed, similar transient side effects occur with a slight
elevation of temperature in a greater percent of patients. To reduce the reactions to a
minimum, Pantopaque should be removed by aspiration after myeolography.”
Occasional severe arachnoiditis producing headache, meningismus, pains in the back
and extremities and elevations in the white blood count and the protein content of the
cerebrospinal fluid. The incidence and severity of arachnoiditis are generally
increased when active subarachnoid bleeding has been induced by the lumbar
New information regarding the needles:
Removal of Pantopaque
“It has been reported that 98% or more of the injected Pantopaque can be removed
using the Chynn needle. Because of the similarity of design, the Cuatico needle
should be equally effective. Occasionally it may be necessary to maneuver the
medium under the tip of the aspiration cannula two or three times by tipping the table
under fluoroscopic visualization before all of it can be removed and the needle
* Only the three prior reprints still were in the 1979 labeling. There were still no references to the
information that Lafayette was supplying to physicians when asked for further information
regarding Pantopaque safety and production of acute symptoms.
July 1980, the labeling was modified once again. The size of the name “Lafayette Pharmacal”
May 8, 1981, FDA received Lafayette’s Pantopaque physician insert labeling for review. No other
product labeling appears to have been released until 1983, and following the possible? interaction
with FDA there were significant changes in the appearance and the literature citations included in
the proposed insert.
March 27 1983, proposed working revision of Pantopaque labeling - changed with 9 additional
new literature citations and new “acute” symptoms safety information. ( *There were subsequent
inter-office memos discussing the future modifications for this labeling.) The changes were as
Dosage and Administration:
The amount of Pantopaque commonly used varies and is dependent on physician
preference. However, most examinations are performed using 3 to 12 cc.
An intrathecal injection should not be performed if the patient has a local or systemic
infection (#2- Eng and Seligman, JAMA. 245:1456-1459 (1981).)
If bloody CSF is encountered and does not clear quickly, the possible benefits of
myelogram should be considered in terms of the risk to the patient (#3 - Taveras and
Wood, Diagnostic Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976))
The rate of absorption of Pantopaque may vary from patient to patient.( #13-
Perovitch , Radiological Evaluation of the Spinal Cord. 1:79-95 (1981))
There was the addition of literature citation #4 -Siegal, Williams and Waterman.
Amer J. Neuroradiology. 3: 65-68 (1982) regarding deferment of intrathecal
administration if there was a bloody lumbar tap.
*There finally appeared within this labeling revision a warning for reusable equipment. This was
safety information known by Lafayette since at least 1972 that had not been included in the
physician insert in prior versions. The following statements included literature citations and were
If the myelogram is performed with reusable equipment,(*Underlining added for
emphasis). meticulous care should be taken to ensure the removal of the cleansing
material. (#5-Denson, Joseph, Koons, Marry and Bissonnette. Anesthesiology,
18:143-144 (1957))- (*note not the same reference given by Lafayette to Dr. Scott in
1972, but certainly available long before 1983.).
A myelogram should be performed using good sterile techniques ( #3- Taveras and
Wood, Diagnostic Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976)).
After thorough scrubbing the injection area, it is important to swab the area dry .
Powder-free sterile gloves should be used. (#4 -Siegal, Williams and Waterman.
Amer J. Neuroradiology. 3: 65-68 (1982))
Adverse Reactions now included information also relatable to the reports of acute adverse events
that had been received by Lafayette within their complaint records for reported adverse reactions
since the early 70's and which had not been contained within the previous physician inserts:
Adverse reactions reported following a myelogram may be due to the introduction of
contrast media into the subarachnoid space, to cerebral spinal fluid leakage from the
injection site, to the effects of spinal tap alone, to subarachnoid bleeding, or to the
introduction of foreign material to a break in surgical technique. (#1- Shapiro,
Myelography. 3 Ed., The Year Book Medical Publishers. (1976); #3- Taveras and
Wood, Diagnostic Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976);
#7- Parker, Kane, Wiechers and Johnson, Arch of Physical Medicine &
Rehabilitation, 60:220-222 (1979)).
The statement regarding clinical reports and severity of Pantopaque myelogram relatable to an
ordinary lumbar puncture, now had a supportive literature citation. (#3- Taveras and Wood,
Diagnostic Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976)).
The most common side effects are headache, nausea and, rarely vomiting. (#6-
Epstein. The Spine. 3rd Ed. Lea and Febiger (1969).
....vertigo, arachnoiditis, blindness, paralysis, shock and death have been reported
following myelography with Pantopaque 1,3,6 (#1- Shapiro, Myelography. 3 Ed., The
Year Book Medical Publishers. (1976); #3- Taveras and Wood, Diagnostic
Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976); #6- Epstein. The
Spine. 3rd Ed. Lea and Febiger (1969).
Venous intravasation producing pulmonary emboli has been reported- *now has a
reference citation-#9- Mortara and Brooks. Southern Medical Journal, 69:520-521
Fluoroscopy and Radiology
Sometimes it is desirable to roll the patient from side to side in order to study
adequately each nerve root- now had a literature citation- (#3- Taveras and Wood,
Diagnostic Neuroradiology. 2nd Ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co. (1976).
April 30, 1986, there was an Alcon Laboratories receipt that showed that Alcon sent FDA a copy
of the revised “November 1985" labeling.
Revised August 1986 Alcon labeling included the following new information:
Drug Interactions and/or related problems:
Glucocorticoids, intrathecal (concurrent intrathecal administration of iophendylate
with intrathecal administration of glucocorticoids may increase risk of arachnoiditis.)
(*Note no reference provided).
....PANTOPAQUE should be removed by aspiration at the conclusion of the
Inter-Alcon memos demonstrate that Alcon staff were in the process of revising the product
labeling in 1987. However, in 1987, Alcon management determined not to purchase any further
Pantopaque raw materials from Kodak Company due to the dwindling imaging market, and to
slowly withdraw from the Pantopaque market.
B. Alcon’s & Lafayette Pharmacal’s Remarks about Pantopaque - “Labeling”
The following was an example of Alcon Laboratories’s 1990's corporate responses to public
inquiries regarding potential adverse effects of Pantopaque. This example provides an August 5,
1992 letter from Martha Siegal, Director, Corporate Consumer Affairs, Alcon Laboratories:
I am responding to your letter to Alcon regarding Pantopaque.....It is obvious from
your letter that the reason you now feel that many of your symptoms are related to
your Pantopaque myelogram is because you watched a talk show on television that
gave you the impression that Pantopaque was responsible for your problems. The
show you watched presented a very biased view of the product that is totally
unsupported by medical literature and medical opinions.
I would strongly recommend that you discuss your condition and your suspicion, that
Pantopaque may be responsible, with your current physician. I feel confident that he
will advise you that the Pantopaque is not responsible. If your physician feels that
your condition is attributable to Pantopaque, have him write us a letter regarding this
diagnosis. We will then get in touch with your physician so we can evaluate the
merits of your claim.
We are very sorry that you are having medical problems. I know it is hard for you to
understand why Alcon cannot discuss your problems directly with you but
Pantopaque is a prescription product and as such, all of Alcon’s directions and
warnings are directed to the physician. The physician in turn is familiar with the
individual’s medical history and condition and makes decisions on the drug to use and
what warning to give the patient relating to potential adverse effects of the drug.
Because each patient’s condition is so individual, it is important that questions
regarding your condition and how it might relate to your 1981 myelogram be directed
to your personnel physician.
In terms of potential litigation, Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories demonstrated a
history of placing responsibility for initial prescription of Pantopaque and all subsequent negative
effects on the physician (*Bold added for emphasis). who had prescribed it for use in their
patient. However, this approach would have been accurate only assuming the sponsor had been
forthright, as legally required by the FDCA for the FDA, with health care providers and FDA in
providing all nonclinical and clinical information available regarding adequate instructions for use
and warnings to allow the prescription of Pantopaque. This also would assume that the
manufacturer was in full compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) including
performing adequate failure investigation, complaint handling, adverse event reporting, filing of
annual reports, adverse event reports and trend analysis.
An example of Lafayette and Alcon’s failure to comply with the FDCA and communicate
honestly with physicians was the handling of a letter involving Dr. Robert Gross, who wrote to
Lafayette Pharmacal in January 20, 1981 to request to obtain further information about the
performance of Pantopaque.
I have performed approximately five thousand Pantopaque myelographies over a
period of years without any significant difficulty. However, recently I have been
involved in a serious, difficult malpractice case in which the following allegations or
facts have emerged for discussion:
1. Based primarily on an article by Chynn in 1972, it was contended that all
Pantopaque can and should be removed in all cases without exception.
2. Residual Pantopaque is a potent cause of arachnoiditis.
3. Multiple spinal punctures, if necessary, should be performed in order to insure the
removal of all dyes.
4. An estimate of the amount of residual dye is the spinal canal can be made be a
review of the films.
My search of the literature has failed to answer certain pertinent questions. These
A. The actual incidence of arachnoiditis complicating Pantopaque myelography with
or without additional operative intervention.
B. The actual toxicity and safety of Pantopaque
C. The incidence of arachnoiditis when all the dye is removed or when a part is
D. Pertinent statistics regarding how many Pantopaque myelograms are performed at
the major centers in the U.S. in which all the dye is actually removed.
This matter is principally one of pride for me, since I am adequately covered by
insurance. However, a precedent of this type, I assume would be devastating to the
manufacturers and distributors of Pantopaque. I am requesting herewith that you
furnish me with all the pertinent information you have available concerning the
matters I have discussed in this letter.
Dr. Barry Newton, Associate Director of Research & Development, Lafayette Pharmacal, who
was not a physician, and was directed to handle all medical questions and issues by Alcon
Laboratories replied to Dr. Gross’s requests for further information about Pantopaque in a letter of
February 9, 1981:
I have included a copy of our literature references to Pantopaque for your use. I
would provide the following comments on the points or questions listed in your letter:
1) Dr. Chynn’s article is excellent. It provides a good deal of information about the
technique for Pantopaque myelography. In a recent conversation with Dr. Chynn, he
indicated that he has personally performed 4000-5000 myelograms and always
removes the Pantopaque completely. He further indicated that he has never seen a
problem with any of the patients that could be attributed to Pantopaque.
2) I am not familiar with any article that provides clear information on Pantopaque
3) I am not familiar with a publication stating “multiple spinal punctures should be
performed in order to ensure the removal of all of the dye.
4) I agree that an estimate of the amount of residual dye in the spinal canal can be
made by reviewing the films.
A) It is not possible for us to determine the actual incidence of arachnoiditis
associated with myelography. Results of Pantopaque myelography do not come to
my attention unless there is a problem involved. These types of calls are infrequent.
B) The safety and toxicity of Pantopaque for use in myelography is covered through
an approved NDA. Pantopaque is regarded as safe for the use intended.
C) Information on the incidence of arachnoiditis following myelography is not
D) See A and C above.
Dr. Gross, to my knowledge there is no legal precedent for litigation in which
Pantopaque is claimed to have caused arachnoiditis. There has never been a
judgement against Pantopaque for having caused arachnoiditis.
Dr. Newton had written the above letter to Dr. Gross in 1981, yet he had also been the Lafayette
employee required to respond for Lafayette Pharmacal to the September 18, 1978, letter from L.
Rentz, D.O. Dr. Rentz had written:
I am writing concerning an article in Medical World News, September 18, 1978,
regarding a report by Dr. Henry L. Feffer on the profound and frequent effects of
Pantopaque in causing clinically significant arachnoiditis.
As you know, this opens the doors of future malpractice litigation. Certainly
myelography is one of the most common causes of legal action at the present time and
your agent is the only one clinically acceptable. I would greatly appreciate detailed
copies of the papers referred to this in this news report.
Dr. Newton’s October 11, 1978 response as Lafayette’s Product Complaint Coordinator to Dr.
Rentz was as followed::
Your letter of September 19, 1978 has been forwarded to me. Medical World News
is not one of the journals that we receive and therefore I have not seen a copy of the
article by Dr. H.L.Feffer. If you would be so kind as to send me a copy of this article
to my attention, I would appreciate it.
Dr. Renz subsequently did send a copy of the article to Dr. Newton. The article was named:
Arachnoiditis Risk after Myelography. The article included official comments by an unnamed
Lafayette spokesman regarding the Lafayette response to the contents of the article. It was
authored by a team of physicians from George Washington University. The authors stated:
Of the estimated 400,000 myelograms done yearly in the U.S. at least one fourth of
the patients will probably develop iophenydylate arachnoiditis on the basis of our four
studies, ...moreover, patients who have had two or more studies with the iodinated
contrast medium stand a 50% chance of developing iatrogenic arachnoiditis....In the
past we have questioned whether our poor results were due to surgery, the original
back-pain complaint, or the oily based contrast agent. Now we know.
A spokesman for Lafayette Pharmacal, which markets iophendylate as Pantopaque
demurs: “There is no evidence that supports the authors’ conclusions. They describe
no method for analyzing the data that make a possible logical conclusion about the
factors that influence arachnoiditis. Regression analysis demonstrates no positive
relationships between the number of Pantoaque myelograms and the occurrence of
arachnoiditis nor between the number of operations and the occurrence of
In their text, Diagnostic Neuroradiology ( 2nd Edit, p.1136) Taveras and Wood state:
Myelography with Pantoaque is followed by surprisingly few side reactions aside
from those usually associated with lumbar punctures.
The Washington researchers along with Dr. Haughton, Medical College of Wisconsin in
Milwaukee said that their closer scrutiny of their facilities’ iophendylate procedures demonstrated
that there was a higher incidence of arachnoiditis than initially had been thought. Dr. Feffer also
partly blamed a general imaging policy for performing myelograms without adequate justification
in terms of a when viewed as a strict risk-benefit analysis since myelograms produced scarring
and adhesions in the arachnoid. He blamed imprecise technique such as epidural injection,
significant dye retention, and emulsification of the contrast medium by bloody admixture as
increasing the potential risks. The authors concluded their article by the following statement:
Animal studies confirm the “devastating effect of iophendylate on the myelin sheath
and nerve cells as well as the meninges and nerve roots.” says Dr. Feffer.
Wisconsin’s Dr. Haughton, who has done studies comparing iophendylate and
metrizamide in primates, concludes water-soluble material causes fewer side
October 3, 1978, Dr. B. Newton, now as “Director of Organic R&D”, responded to a letter
received from Dr. George Wilson:
After reviewing my files on Pantopaque publications, I have been unable to locate
any publication dealing with meningitis type of reactions to Pantopaque. There are
however, references made to the possibility of arachnoiditis from Pantopaque
retained in the S/A space. I have also been unable to locate any reference in our files
dealing with the possible contamination of material with enterobacter agglomeranes.
I have discussed the possibility of changing our packaging insert to recommend
sterilization of the outside of the ampul just prior to use. We are in the process of
evaluating a package revision and your suggestion will be very closely evaluated as a
August 13, 1979 Dr. Newton wrote another reply letter, now to Mr. Boyd, President, Rebco
Incorporated, a distributor of Pantopaque, regarding a reported adverse reaction that had been
reported to Mr. Boyd by one of his clients:
Your letter to C.W. Griggs dated August 3, 1979 has been forwarded to me. Mr
Griggs retired from Lafayette Pharmacal earlier this year.
In response to your letter inquiring about recent reports on problems with Pantopaque,
we have not observed any change in the incidence of type of inquiries received on the
use of Pantopaque. There has been one inquiry involving Pantopaque from lot
number 121518. A field a sample of that material was received at Lafayette
Pharmacal and that sample met U.S. Pharmacopeia requirements and was sterile.
If it would be of service to you I would be happy to contact your customer to discuss
this matter with them. If they have any of the lot of Pantopaque still at their hospital I
would request a sample be sent to us for analysis.
Another example of Lafayette communication was recorded in an inter-office memo that occurred
between Lafayette Pharmacal’s Dr. Newton, and a concerned physician father, a Richmond, VA
allergy specialist, regarding the safety of his daughter. The physician was asking questions
similar to Dr. Gross’s questions of 1981:
Dr______________ wanted to know if there was a relationship between retained
Pantopaque and arachnoiditis- What would be the effect of a couple of droplets?
I told him about Taveus and Wood- Pantopaque gives reactions no different from a
spinal tap- I told him retained Pantopaque should present not problem.(* Bold
for emphasis). I told him it was our experience that should Pantopaque be left in the
CSF microphages (sic) would form and gradually the material would be eliminated.
We had not seen inflammatory responses in animals-
He asked if it would be possible to aspirate two droplets of Pantopaque-
I asked if it was mobile- No-
My statement was that it would be difficult- it would depend on the skill of the person
making the tap to place the tip of the needle near the material.
I told him about the practice of leaving Pantopaque in the SA space in England (years
past). I also related to him about radiologists frequently seeing retained Pantopaque
without the patient being aware of its presence.
Dr.________ inquired about suggested therapy for arachnoiditis-
I told him there were reports in the literature about the use of steroids-
After several minutes of discussion, it was discovered that Dr.______ daughter was
the patient involved- She was 25 years old-had three operations-was in a great deal of
pain- Some other doctor was recommending metrizamide and he wanted to know my
opinion.-I made no recommendation other than suggesting he could read the literature
I told Dr._______ that a bloody tap at the time of the myelogram had been implicated
Dr._______ indicated that his daughter was rather excitable and was getting upset
about the condition.
I took his address but made no commitment to him about sending literature- Since he
is not her personal doctor, I do not feel we should send him literature.
VII. Manufacturers Involved in the Production and Marketing of Pantopaque
A. Eastman Kodak Company
Eastman Kodak Company has a history in photography and radiology imaging that goes back to
the turn of the century and the original need for radiologic products. In terms of Pantopaque, in
1938, Distillation Products Incorporated (DPI) began manufacturing vitamin concentrates for
Kodak and in 1948, Kodak bought out General Mills’ interest in DPI. In 1942, Kodak’s
Rochester plants were awarded the Army-Navy “E” for high achievement in the production of
equipment and films for support of the war effort. During 1947, Kodak began the first
commercial production of synthetic Vitamin A at DPI which continued until 1973. 1977
Arkansas Eastman Company, the newest member of the Eastman Chemicals Division, began
commercial production of organic chemicals, and 1978, Eastman Chemicals Division introduced
Eastman KODAPAK thermoplastic polyester for use in manufacturing beverage bottles.
Therefore, Kodak had interests and operations outside film production.
By 2001, Eastman Kodak Company has remained a publicly traded company, employing 80,650
and still headquartered in Rochester, NY. Its subsidiary is Kodak Health Imaging Services.
Kodak is not identified as a producer of injectable imaging contrast agents. From the
documentation I have reviewed, its facilities last provided Alcon Laboratories with ethyl
iodophenylundecylate for production of Pantopaque in 1987. Kodak owned the trademark for
Pantopaque while Alcon Laboratories held the NDA.
B. Alcon Laboratories, Inc.
Alcon Laboratories was started as a pharmacy in Fort Worth, Texas, Alcon Prescription
Laboratory, in 1945 by two pharmacists, Robert Alexander and William Conner. The initial
product they produced and marketed were injectable vitamins. Alcon Laboratories incorporated
in 1947, to raise capital and begin manufacturing and promoting sterile ophthalmic solutions.
Throughout the 1970's Alcon’s research and development has focused their efforts primarily
towards development of ophthalmic products. In 1977 Alcon Laboratories was acquired by
Nestle, the world’s largest food company, which is headquartered in Switzerland. Following
acquisition by Nestle, Alcon launched multiple new manufacturing plants in the United States,
Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and France with an expansion of Alcon’s areas of
research and product development, including Pantopaque.
In 1972, Ed Schollmaier succeeded William Conner, founder and first Alcon President, as the
second President of Alcon. He was replaced in 1997 by Tim Sear. Today Alcon Laboratories
represents a $2.55 billion global pharmaceutical company that specializes in the development,
manufacture, and marketing of ophthalmic surgical, vison care and otic products.
( *Also in 1977, besides their acquisition by Nestle, Alcon Laboratories acquired Lafayette
Pharmacal, Inc. and the product Pantopaque.)
In addition to drug products, Alcon Laboratories has had 57 medical device 510(k)s cleared for
marketing and approval of 16 Premarketing Approval Applications (PMAs) by FDA, CDRH.
Alcon Laboratories and FDA
Besides the Agency’s visit in 1989 of the Alcon Humacao, PR facility, FDA visited Alcon
Humacao, Puerto Rico in September 4 & 5, 1991 to inspect the facility’s Purified Water System
and involvement with a local gastroenteritis outbreak. There had been a prior limited inspection
by FDA June 1991 regarding approval of Alcon’s PMA by FDA’s CDRH. The FDA inspection
revealed no problems related to the gastroenteritis outbreak that had been experienced within the
area of Humacao, P.R. , and there were no problems identified with the water quality. However,
FDA issued a FD- 483 to Alcon management reporting they had found two items regarding the
failure to have an IQ (Installation Qualification) program for water processing systems validated
and for the firm not generating IQ reports for water systems modifications. The agency viewed
these as important issues since the company facility functioned primarily as an ophthalmic
solutions and production plant.
May 15, 1991, FDA conducted a limited inspection of the Ft Worth, TX Alcon facility to cover
the features of the TRP (tamper resistant proof) on Alcon’s Contact Lens Cleaning Solution . The
inspection request followed the Agency’s receipt of official samples collected Sept 90 and again
in March 91 that failed to document Tamper Resistant Proof (TRP) features on private label CLC
Solutions. At the time of sampling, Alcon had not placed appropriate TRP features on a vast
array of private label 12 fl oz CLC Saline Solutions. Alcon’s own OTC products all contained the
appropriate TRP features. After a meeting with the FDA inspector, Alcon’s management
promised to incorporate distinctive plastic shrinkband feature onto the bottle necks of the private
March 1, 1994 FDA issued Alcon a Form- 483 following the agency’s inspection of the Alcon
Puerto Rico facility from January 19 through March 1994. Regarding, earlier agency interaction
with Alcon, the agency’s report began that the firm had been the subject of various inspections
during the last year. The most comprehensive inspection had been made during March 27- June
14, 1993 and had covered the ophthalmic and device operations. In the ophthalmic operations,
the inspection disclosed repeated and new significant GMP deficiencies which included: lack of
full manufacturing process validation for all ophthalmic products; leaky tanks which contributed
to the contamination of two media fills; failure to evaluate the effect of preservation when
conducting re-testing of products that had failed initial sterility testing; stability failures within
the expiration period; incorrect stability data had been submitted to the FDA in the Annual
Report; non-validated process of adding additional water and /or active ingredient to a sterile
product found to be over-potent or sub-potent.
In the medical device operations, the Agency’s inspection revealed the following: the firm was
using water with rust residues ( iron, chromium, nickel) in the manufacture of Viscoat; bulk
material Avitene was not tested for pyrogen (LAL test); erroneous calculations of the LAL lead to
release of product with invalid results.
In addition, FDA’s Sterile Drugs Branch, Division of Manufacturing and Product Quality, had
recommended a mass seizure of Alcon’s sterile ophthalmic solution and suspension drug products
manufactured at Alcon’s Humacao, P.R.plant, and in Alcon’s possession at four different
warehouses. Also as a result of the inspection, FDA withheld approval of 2 Alcon ANDA’s and 3
NDA’s under review at the Agency. However, with FDA’s permission, Alcon agreed to
consolidate the violative products that were the subject of the Agency’s seizure recommendation
to their Fort Worth Headquarters and Alcon then destroyed the #1.2 million products in Fort
Worth under FDA supervision. Subsequently, FDA agreed to withdraw its seizure
June 8, 1993, FDA returned to the Alcon Houston, TX facility to conduct a limited inspection to
determine the current disposition of ophthalmic products produced between 04/01/1992 and
09/30/1992 at the Alcon plant in Puerto Rico and considered by FDA to be adulterated. An
agreement was made between Alcon and FDA to destroy all product since Alcon refused to recall
the product. Mrs Bulaw of Alcon had already been aware of the problem with their sterile
ophthalmic products prior to FDA’s arrival and handed FDA’s inspector a June 1, 1993 Alcon
memo indicating that the remaining products which were considered adulterated by FDA would
be consolidated at the Ft. Worth, TX facility where they would be destroyed by Alcon personnel.
A limited Agency inspection was made July 8-12, 1993, as a follow up to the earlier June
inspection and FDA found continued failures related to the holding tanks, and having a SOP with
specific instruction to be followed if tanks leak during the holding and filling operations.
November 2, 3, 5, 1993, FDA conducted a device GMP inspection and uncovered further
deviations including a failure to submit mandatory Medical Device Reports (MDRs) for
complaints that had been received that were relatable to potential serious patient injury.
The 1994 inspection of Humacao, PR Alcon continued to find significant manufacturing
deviations regarding new NDA products and GMP deficiencies that significantly affected their
drug production in general at the plant. Pre-approval samples were not collected because of the
firm’s decision to withdraw the Puerto Rico manufacturing site from the NDAs for four of the
products in order to accelerate the Agency’s approval process. Documentary samples were
collected to document interstate commerce of drug products from two different profiles that may
be affected by the firm’s failure to maintain an adequate stability area under controlled conditions.
In 1993, Ms. Maria Santiago was designated the Technical Assistant to the General Manager
leaving vacant the QA Director position at the time of inspection.
Manufacturing facilities at the Humacao, Puerto Rico site consisted of three separate buildings
that were identified as follows: Avicon Plant, Ophthalmic Plant, and Vision Care Plant. The
Avicon manufacturing building was dedicated to the packaging of microfibrillar collagen
hemostat and to the manufacture of ophthalmic contact lens care products. The Ophthalmic
building was used to manufacture sterile ophthalmic solutions, suspension, contact lens care
solutions and surgical solutions. Vision Care Plant underwent recent expansion for production
of NDA products.
Alcon’s Warning Letters (1993-2000)
1. June 6, 1993 Alcon, Fort Worth, Texas, was issued a Warning Letter by FDA that Alcon was
manufacturing as a prescription ophthalmic drug for relief of signs of allergic conjunctivitis in
violation of the FDCA. An FDA Federal Register on October 1, 1992 had stated that products
containing Antazoline Phosphate or Naphazoline Hydrochloride in combination with other
ingredients or any other products containing an antihistamine in combination with a
vasoconstrictor for such use could no longer be marketed without an approved NDA. Therefore,
FDA cited Alcon as in violation of the FDCA and considered the drug a “New Drug”. The
product could not be legally delivered into U.S. interstate commerce without FDA’s prior
approval of an NDA.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all drug products marketed by your firm comply
with the Act and all regulations promulgated thereunder.
2. July 30, 1993, Alcon Laboratories, Fort Worth were issued a Warning Letter following FDA’s
inspection of Alcon Surgical, Inc. located in Huntington, West Virginia. The Agency’s inspector
found deviations from Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in Alcon’s manufacture of
implanted intraocular lenses. Manufacturing specifications, processing procedures, and controls
were found to be inadequate. The Quality Assurance programs were inadequate, failure to
conduct adequate failure investigations, failure to conduct adequate critical device inspection,
following FDA’s limited inspection of the facilities.
3. December 14, 1995, FDA sent a Warning Letter to Mr. E. Schollmaier, President and CEO of
Alcon Laboratories, Inc for problems that continued to be identified at the Huntington, West
Virginia Alcon facility following FDA’s inspection conducted November 14-28, 1995 for the
manufacturer of intraocular lenses. The same problems were identified as during the 1993
inspection of the facility.
4. March 20, 1998 FDA issued a Warning Letter to R. Gural, Ph.D., VP, Regulatory Affairs
regarding Alcon’s broadcasting of product advertisement for Patanol 0.1% solution. FDA’s
DDMAC had determined that the advertisement was in violation of the FDCA in that the
advertisment (promotion) was misleading. Alcon stated in the advertisement that “few people
may experience side effects, like headache.” FDA’s DDMAC (Division of Drug Marketing and
Communications) did not consider that an adequate representation of the risk information. In a
telephone conversation between FDA and Mr. Gural of Alcon, he stated that Alcon would stop
airing the ad. However, in a follow-up conversation Mr. Bural proposed that Alcon replace the
subject advertisement with a voice-over. That was not considered acceptable by FDA.
5. August 11, 1998 FDA sent a Warning Letter to Mr. Tim Sear, President and CEO of Alcon for
the Huntington, West Virginia facility. FDA conducted their inspection May 2 to June 10, 1998.
Again the FDA found their manufacture of intraocular lenses at the facility in violation of the law
in that the devices are misbranded due to Alcon’s failing to file MDRs for reports received of
their implanted lenses (critical devices) failing and producing serious injury in patients.
6. November 19, 1998, Alcon’s Scott Krueger, Director of Regulatory Affairs, received a
Warning Letter from FDA’s DDMAC regarding the firm’s marketing and promotion of
TobraDex. Alcon was promoting the product for both optic and otic use when it had been cleared
for only optic use. Alcon was also promoting the product at the American Association of
Otolaryngolgoy convention in September 14-16, 1998, which FDA considered a promotion for
7. January 5, 1999 Alcon Laboratories, Scott Kruger received a Warning Letter from DDMAC for
Alcon’s promotion of Azopt. The promotion of the product was not in keeping with the clearance
for the product, lacked fair balance, and were misleading.
8. January 14, 1999, Tim Sear, President and CEO of Alcon Laboratories received a Warning
Letter for his firm’s promotion of Alcon’s Acrysof Intraocular Lenses. FDA objected to
promotions in marketing that had been sent to physicians by Alcon that specifically stated:
We at Alcon Laboratories are very excited and pleased that the FDA[sic] has given us
permission to change our labeling on our Acrysof Lens Package insert. We have been
able to demonstrate over a three-year period. [sic] scientifically that Acrysof lenses do
not reduce posterior capsular opacification.”
We have anecdotally discussed this, however the enclosed study and package insert
demonstrates [sic] this outcome.....This is a milestone for Alcon as this is the very
first claim that any manufacturer can makes towards PCO.
FDA found these statements objectionable, in violation of the FDCA and Alcon’s actions had
made the device misbranded and adulterated. The lenses were misbranded because the company
had not submitted a notice or any other data to FDA that could support the new claims made in
the promotional information. FDA considered the device adulterated because the Acrysof Lens
were a class III device that would require an approved PMA for the product claims. FDA’s latter
We have been advised by CDRH’s Office of Device Evaluation (ODE) that in
Alcon’s discussions with the agency about the approval of additional claims for the
Acrysof lens labeling, ODE explicitly advised Alcon that the additions were limited
to claims regarding the utility of the lens in reducing lens epithelial cells. ODE
advised the company that claim for reduction or posterior capsule opacification
(PCO) exceeded what the company had studied and that FDA would want any claim
of reduction in PCO to be evaluated by the Ophthalmic Devices Panel. The
company committed to making claims only for the reduction in less epithelial cells.
...In addition to the violations described above, Alcon has made other violative
promotional claims. On October 28, 1998, our office issued a latter to Alcon
discussing violative claims on the company’s website....The company has, to date,
failed to respond to that letter and the website continues to make the inappropriate
claims. Please include in your response to the warning letter a discussion of how
you intend to address the issues raised in the October 28 letter.
9. February 23, 1999, Mr. Scott Kruger, Director, Regulatory Affairs Alcon, received a Warning
Letter form FDA’s DDMAC regarding the firms false and misleading marketing of Betoptic S in
violation of the FDCA. The agency had no record of Alcon’s submission of this marketing
campaign for the agency’s review and the claims implied clearance for an unapproved new use.
Namely, the promotion implied the product was cleared to protect patients from visual fielddiminishing
effects of glaucoma. Whereas, the product had been indicated for lowering
intraocular pressure in patients with chronic open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. The
agency’s letter stated:
DDMAC is especially concerned about this promotional issue because DDMAC has
previously inquired about Alcon’s alleged promotion of betaxolol in connection with
ocular blood flow and preservation of visual field. On February 15,1994, Alcon
responded to an inquiry from DDMAC regarding this alleged promotion, and stated
that in response to DDMAC’s request, Alcon was “taking measures to ensure that
there will be no further discussion of the effect of betaxolol on visual field or blood
flow...in materials used by Alcon sales representatives. However, it appears from the
dissemination of the above advertisement that Alcon is promoting betaxolol in
connection with the preservation of the visual field.
10. March 15, 1999, Mr. Kruger received another Warning Letter from FDA’s DDMAC regarding
Alcon’s promotion for unapproved use and unsupported clinical claims for the product Ciloxan.
Alcon was promoting the product for prophylaxis for ophthalmic surgery when it had been
approved only for the treatment of infections for susceptible strains of organisms- not
11. March 16, 1999, Mr. Kruger was went a Warning Letter from FDA’s DDMAC regarding the
firm’s inadequate response to the agency’s Warning Letter for March 19, 1999 regarding the
promotion of TobraDex. The agency considered the advertising as not providing a fair balance,
and still in violation of the FDCA.
12. June 12, 2000, Mr Kruger received another Warning Letter from DDMAC regarding the
promotion of Ciloxan. The agency indicated that the firm continued to make misleading claims of
effectiveness, make promotions that lack fair balance and provide misleading presentations of in
13. November 17, 2000 Mr. Sear, President of Alcon received a Warning Letter from FDA
following the agency’s inspection of the Fort Worth manufacturing facility that was conducted
October 12-27, 2000. FDA found the firm in serious deviations from the Current Good
Manufacturing Practices for Finished Pharmaceuticals and the Quality System Regulations.
These deviations caused Alcon drug products and medical devices manufactured at the site to be
adulterated and in violation of the FDCA.
C. Lafayette Pharmaceutical Inc.
Lafayette Pharmaceuticals, Inc continues to be based in Lafayette, Indiana, however, its present
parent company is listed as Inovision, Solon, Ohio. Mr. R.A. Sharp continues to be the head of
Regulatory Affairs for Lafayette Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as well as for Lafayette Pharmaceuticals
Incorporated based in Yorba Linda, C
Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:57 PM
Associates, Carle Place, NY. The Yorba Linda “Lafayette” firm uses the tradenames:
“Micropaque”, Tridate, and Energel. Lafayette Pharmaceuticals based in Lafayette, IN uses the
tradenames: “Aircon”, “Anatrast”, “Baricon”, “Barocat”, Barosperse, Cheetah, Energel, Entrocel,
Liquid Barosperse, Sparkles, Tomocat, “Tonopaque”, Tridrate. Nuclear Associates, which has a
revenue of $10-25 million annually, produces primarily imaging medical devices. Lafayette
Pharmaceutical, Inc is a manufacturer of both drugs and medical devices. Lafayette
Pharmaceuticals has had 5 510(k)s for marketing cleared by FDA from 1986-1993.
Lafayette Pharmaceutical’s Medical Device Reports (MDRs)- Mandatory Reporting
Pre1996 and the beginning of the MAUDE MDR database, Lafayette had filed a total of 2 MDRs
for receipt of reports of complaints received regarding the performance and/or safety of their
medical devices during the period 1984-1996. Both MDRs were filed in 1992 for disposable prefilled
barium enema kits, potentially both related to an “allergic” reaction.
One MDR, February 28, 1992, identified incorrectly as a malfunction, rather than a serious injury,
the patient developed allergic reaction and was subsequently determined to be allergic to the latex
in the barium enema tip. The second MDR, March 28, 1992, also incorrectly identified as a
malfunction, occurred also during a barium enema, when a patient went into respiratory arrest
(coded), and recovered.
Since 1996, Lafayette Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has filed only a single MDR in 1997. The report was
for the Barosperse Enema Kit and that the firm had been informed that the patient suffered a
ruptured colon during barium enema.
1. Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc., and Alcon Laboratories, Inc. failed to behave as
reasonable U.S. manufacturers when they pursued actions intended to mislead
and conceal important drug safety and performance information from the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), medical community and the U.S. public. Lafaye tte
Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories, Inc. disregarded the role of the Food Drug and
Administration for protecting public safety when they failed to provide the Agency
with adequate labeling, warnings, truthful federal submissions, and violated Good
Manufacturing Practices by not conducting adequate failure investigation and filing
timely adverse event reports for serious patient injuries. Despite the firms’
awareness of a significant body of animal and human data that demonstrated
Pantopaque could be toxic and associated with an unreasonable danger to health
when used as intended, the firms continued to market it to physicians for patient
imaging. Such irresponsible and callous actions based on the pursuit of financial
gain demonstrated a total disregard for U.S. public health.
Complete and accurate animal and clinical safety and toxicity information known by Lafayette
Pharmacal, Inc., prior to 1944 and later by Alcon Laboratories, in 1978, regarding the true risks of
Pantopaque were not honestly and accurately provided to FDA within federal submissions. The
data was not presented to FDA, the medical community, nor the public within adequate product
labels, promotions or communications by either Alcon Laboratories or Lafayette Pharmacal.
The initial Pantopaque New Drug Application, NDA 5-319, was approved by an FDA that was
involved in World War II under newly evolving requirements of the 1938 FDCA. Pantopaque’s
approval came as the result of the firm’s misrepresentation of animal safety data, selective
omission of unfavorable human experience data, reliance on reports of positive physician
experience from research conducted on military patients.
Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc., was successfully able to capitalize upon unique conditions that allowed
Pantopaque to enter a US imaging market without supplying valid “safety” data in their NDA.
The firm was provided a marketing opportunity that allowed them to quickly reach and remain on
the U.S. imaging market through the 1990s and the 1978 advent of water-soluble and imaging
After passage of the 1962 Drug Amendments to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, and NAS/NRC
DESI retrospective review of published medical literature to support Pantopaque’s imaging
“efficacy”, the drug was allowed to remain on the US market. Subsequently, FDA and NAS/NRC
requested changes in the physician insert that would better and more accurately inform the user of
:1) the need to remove the material from the spinal canal post imaging, and 2) the potential for
Pantopaque to be associated with significant serious permanent neurological effects.
During 1963, IND1-161 NDA 16-377 were filed by Lafayette to obtain FDA’s approval of a new
generation of Pantopaque or Pantopaque II. FDA’s approval of NDA16-377 and IND1-161 for
future marketing of Pantopaque II necessitated, among many other requirements, that the firm
provide FDA with adequate animal toxicity safety data to assure human safety. Adequate animal
toxicity safety data that had been submitted by the firm in NDA5-319, would have been allowed
to be used for support of human safety for the Pantopaque II IND and NDA. However, NDA5-
319 animal safety data was found to be inadequate by FDA reviewers for support of human
Filing of an NDA now required a drug sponsor to obtain an IND exemption to allow legal
distribution of an investigational drug within the US for the purpose of conductance of a clinical
investigation. The obtaining of an IND brought new requirements for accounting for the
distribution of an investigational drug product, for facilitating the gathering of valid scientific
evidence to support safety and efficacy, obtaining oversight by IRB, and obtaining adequate
informed consent. The “IND” mechanism required FDA’s prior approval of a clinical trial design.
FDA as a regulatory agency was evolving from the Agency that Lafayette Pharmacal had dealt
with amidst the turmoil of 1944.
The Pantopaque II marketing applications were subsequently withdrawn from FDA by the firm
June 25, 1969. Also in 1969, the sponsors had received the final conclusions of animal toxicity
studies conducted by Hazelton Laboratories that had involved toxicity studies for both the
investigational and the approved Pantopaque products. When the IND and NDA was withdrawn,
the unfavorable animal toxicity data for both the investigational and the approved Pantopaque
products was not conveyed to FDA, despite the Agency’s specific requests that the firm be
forthright and honest about Pantopaque product information. Rather, FDA was told that the NDA
was withdrawn by Lafayette after learning that Pantopaque II was no more “effective” than
After the initial twenty years on the US market, the recommended maximum administered dose
for Pantopaque by Lafayette had been escalated from 5 ccs of the NDA, to a labeling maximum
dose of 9ccs in 1953 and, following DESI’s medical literature search, a maximum dose of 12 ccs.
A reasonable appearing increase for a product if it were indeed “safe”. However, the greater the
total dose of Pantopaque injected by the physician, the greater the potential amount left remaining
permanently within the patient’s spinal canal and the increased permanent disabling risks. After
almost 40 years on the US market, in 1980 labeling, the safe maximum tolerated dose implied for
Pantopaque in Lafayette labeling was suggested to be as high as 30 ccs. Each increase in total
patient dose of Pantopaque for myelography by Lafayette Pharmacal, moved the patient and the
product unknowingly further away from NDA5-319.
FDA’s 1944 Pantopaque approval and 1969 Pantopaque II withdrawal interactions were
predicated on the assumption that FDA was dealing with reasonable, responsible and honest US
sponsor of marketing applications, in full compliance with the requirements of the Food Drug and
Cosmetic Act (FDCA). A reasonable U.S. manufacturer would not seek to violate the FDCA, nor
would they perform a prohibited act and market a product that they know is dangerous. A
reasonable U.S. manufacturer would not misrepresent product safety and performance to FDA,
the U.S. medical community, and the U.S. public. Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboartories,
Inc. had become aware, long before the product’s removal from the US market which Alcon
Laboratories began in 1987, that injection of Pantopaque into the human subarachnoid space was
potentially dangerous, toxic, and NOT safe.
It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty and based on my training and
experience, that Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc., and Alcon Laboratories, Inc. failed to behave as
responsible US manufacturers when they :
a) conspired not to supply complete and forthright animal and clinical data regarding the
risks of injection of Pantopaque into the subarachnoid space for myelography to FDA
and the medical community;
b) failed to provide adequate and truthful information to FDA, the medical community,
and the U.S. public in official federal documents, labeling, product promotions, written
and oral communications while downplaying the severity of adverse events and risks;
c) knowingly marketed a product to the U.S. public through promoting prescription by
physicians by not providing physicians with adequate information regarding potential
risks and benefits;
d) knowingly marketed a product that could be dangerous to physicians when they were
aware that Pantopaque had been toxic to animals and humans when injected into the
subarachnoid space and associated with granulomatous meningitis; severe progressive
obliterative arachnoiditis; adhesive arachnoiditis; paralysis; seizures; bladder and bowel
dysfunction; coma; and even death;
d) placed corporate profits from sales of Pantopaque over legal responsibilities and
obligations to ensure U.S. public and product safety.
Such irresponsible and dangerous actions by Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories prior
to 1983 directly contributed to the pain and suffering of the U.S. public exposed to Pantopaque
and directly contributed to the US healthcare burden.
2. Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories through 1983 demonstrated a
total disregard for the role of FDA, physicians and U .S. manufacturers to ensure
U.S. public safety by providing Pantopaque with labeling that implied to both FDA
and the user that adverse effects reported for Pantopaque were negligible,
transient, short term and limited. Such negligent actions by Lafayette Pharmacal
and Alcon Laboratories to downplay the severity of the risks on injected
Pantopaque prior to 1983 directly contributed to the permanent Pantopaquerelated
spinal injuries produced by Pantopaque injection in the U.S. population
and added to the long term financial burdens of the US healthcare system.
Pantopaque’s labeling was misleading, false and failed to convey the severity of both the
immediate and chronic dangers associated with injection of Pantopaque into the human
subarachnoid space. Misleading and inadequate labeling did not provide the prescribing
physician with valid and honest information regarding true product risks in terms of potential
imaging benefit. Without such truthful and accurate product information, physicians were
unable to make valid risk versus benefit determination regarding the prescription of Pantopaque
for imaging of patients.
Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories labeling of Pantopaque, through just a review of
medical literature, animal studies and adverse event reports prior to 1983 should have, at a
minimum, included the following information in the physician insert under “WARNING”s,
“PRECAUTION”s, and/or ADVERSE REACTIONS:
1. Pantopaque is not water-soluble and remains primarily unabsorbed in the body.
2. Pantopaque histologically has been shown to trigger a severe granulomatous
foreign body inflammatory reaction.
3. Injection of Pantopaque into the subarachnoid space for myelography has been
acutely associated with producing symptoms of aseptic and chemical meningitis;
fever; shock; respiratory arrest; coma and death.
4.Pantopaque myeolography has been chronically associated with severe chronic,
adhesive and obliterative arachnoiditis; progressive neurological deficit; paralysis;
focal and grand mal seizures; blindness; cauda equina syndrome; obstructive
hydrocephalus; chronic pain; shock; coma; and death.
5. Physicians have reported inability to remove all injected Pantopaque by lumbar
puncture and fluoroscopy following myeolography even by the recommended
procedure of Kubik and Hampton, and using Chynn and/or Cuatico needles.
Therefore, the potential imaging benefits of Pantopaque should be considered in terms
of potential permanent risks.
6. Injection of Pantopaque carries both significant and severe acute and long term
risks for the patient beyond the risks of routine lumbar puncture.
7. Human hypersensitization studies with Pantopaque have never been conducted.
Points 1-7 listed above were not contained within Pantopaque’s package inserts through 1983 and
therefore, the product labeling was misleading, false, and inadequate to ensure patient safety.
In terms of findings of animal testing data provided to both FDA and users, the labeling was also
false, misleading and dangerous to the public’s health when the following points 1-5 were not
1. Acute toxicity studies with intrathecal Pantopaque in dogs, produced symptoms,
not associated with a dose effect, of neurological deficit with loss of motor control in
the lower extremities; aseptic meningitis; fever; and connective tissue lesions in the
area of the injection site.
2. Chronic toxicity studies with retained intrathecal Pantopaque in dogs, produced
symptoms, associated with a dose effect, of variable degrees of severe granulomatous
meningitis involving the brain and spinal cord in areas where the material tended to
localize; severe fibrosis of the meninges and arachnoid surrounding encysted retained
Pantopaque; subacute and chronic inflammation; nerve root damage; and cerebral
3. Pantopaque was not demonstrated to be absorbed in animal studies following
intrathecal, intraalveolar, or intraperitoneal routes of administration.
4. In animals studies, not associated with a dose effect, Pantopaque histologically
triggered significant acute and chronic granulomatous foreign body inflammation
surrounding nonstaining vacuoles and cysts of retained Pantopaque, with
multinucleated giant cells, fibrobasts, lymphocytes, plasma cells and fibrosis.
5. LD50 studies were not conducted for Pantopaque, and lethal dose was estimated.
It is also my opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and based upon my
training and experience, that such negligent actions by Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon
Laboratories prior to 1983 directly contributed to the chronic Pantopaque-related spinal injuries
that have been reported within the U.S. population.
3. When Alcon Laboratories, Inc. acquired Lafayette Pharmacal, Inc. January
1978, their corporate management was aware that inadequate safety and efficacy
data and animal safety testing had been conducted by Lafayette Pharmacal and
that the product Pantopaque was being marketed in violation of the FDCA. Yet,
Alcon Laboratories took no corporate actions to comply with the requirements of the
FDCA nor to protect public safety.
The inadequacy of Pantopaque safety studies were pointed out to Lafayette’s management by
Alcon Laboratories when it acquired Lafayette in 1978. Alcon Laboratories management were
aware that the safety data for Pantopaque would not be able to support marketing of Pantopaque
through clinical performance comparisons to a competitor’s product using well-controlled studies
since well-controlled studies with Pantopaque had never been conducted.. However, Alcon
Laboratories, Inc. took no steps to see that well-controlled clinical trials and adequate safety
trials were conducted with Pantopaque, took no steps to bring Pantopaque into compliance with
FDCA, nor took steps to assure adequate failure investigation or timely adverse event reporting.
Instead, Alcon Laboratories elected to continue to profit from Pantopaque’s marketing, despite
inadequate safety and clinical trials, and labeling showing a total disregard for U.S. public safety.
It is also my opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and based on my training
and experience, that such negligent actions by Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories prior
to 1983 directly contributed to the chronic Pantopaque-related spinal injuries reported within the
4. Beginning in the 1940's and extending through Alcon Laboratories’s 1978 acquisition
of Lafayette Pharmacal, based on the adverse clinical and animal data that was
available to Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories regarding “safety” of
iophendylate, Pantopaque’s labeling remained inadequate, false and misleading for
physicians, FDA, and the U.S. public. Pantopaque’s labeling specifically failed to
provide adequate warnings to physicians and patients prior to 1983 for the permanent,
disabling and progressive risks of arachnoiditis associated with subarachnoid injection of
Pantopaque for myelography.
Pantopaque’s labeling from 1940 through 1980s repeatedly did not provide the treating physician
with sufficient truthful and scientific information to adequately allow them an opportunity to
make an informed risk versus benefit decision regarding the safety of using Pantopaque for
imaging patients. Pantopaque’s labeling consistently misrepresented the severity and frequency
of “acute” and short-term risks as well as failed to adequately warn the physician of the increased
“chronic” or long-term permanent risks of myelography associated with Pantopaque.
Lafayette Pharmacal’s and Alcon Laboratories own animal testing and human experience data for
Pantopaque, an oil-based contrast medium for myelography, demonstrated that Pantopaque was
toxic when injected into the subarachnoid space. Reported symptoms and conditions associated
with Pantopaque injection included intractable back and leg pain; bowel and bladder dysfunction;
sexual dysfunction; paralysis; focal and grand mal seizures; blindness; shock; chronic adhesive
arachnoiditis; chronic obliterative arachnoiditis; coma; and death. There is no known cure nor
treatment for the many devastating chronic diseases and symptoms reported in patients following
injection of Pantopaque.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National
Institute of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD website, initially released 1996, updated May 2000:
Arachnoiditis: an inflammatory response of the arachnoid, one of the three
coverings, or meninges, that envelop the brain and spinal cord. It may result from
infection, including syphilis and tubercular meningitis, or trauma ( including that
resulting from surgery, lumbar puncture, and spinal anesthesias). A diagnostic
procedure, called a myelogram, which is performed in patients prior to spinal surgery
may cause numbness, tingling, and a characteristic stinging and burning pain.
(* i.e. acute arachnoiditis.)
Treatment: The goal of treatment should be to return the patient to a functional role
in society. Conservative therapy such as pain management is generally
recommended. In those patients whose arachnoiditis is progressive, surgery to
remove adhesions is only minimally effective because scar tissue continues to
develop. Also, surgery exposes the already irritated spinal cord to additional trauma.
Prognosis: There is no cure for arachnoiditis. For the majority of patients,
arachnoiditis is a disabling disease causing intractable pain and neurological deficits.
As the disease progresses, some symptoms may increase and become permanent.
Few people with this disorder are able to continue working. In some cases,
progressive paraplegia may occur.
Research: Within the NINDS research programs, arachnoiditis is addressed primarily
through studies associated with pain research. NINDS vigorously pursues a research
program seeking new treatments from pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal
of reversing debilitating conditions such as arachnoiditis.
The Management of Pain, J.J.Bonica, 2 edition, Lea & Febiger Publishers, Philadelphia, PA,
1990, made the following points regarding the association of arachnoiditis and chronic pain, page
Arachnoiditis, characterized by inflammation and fibrosis of the arachnoid
membrane, is a well-recognized cause of chronic pain. Although the cauda equina is
the most common site, arachnoiditis can occur at any spinal level. It can be focal and
involve only one root, thereby leading to a segmental pain syndrome with variable
loss of sensory and motor function. Arachnoiditis can also affect multiple segments
and lead to a more diffuse pain syndrome in the lower trunk and abdomen. The pain
of arachnoiditis is constant but is worsened by physical activity. Often a dysethetic
component is present, and paresthesiae are common. Patients often report both a deep
aching and a superficial sharp jabbing pain. The type of pain is not ameliorated by
Further discussion by the author of “arachnoiditis” that can involve the lower spine, or “cauda
equina”, pg 1521:
One of the most disastrous complications of disk disease, myelography, trauma,
subarachnoid hemorrhage, infection, or spinal surgery is the development of
arachnoiditis involving the cauda equina. It is not understood why only a small
percentage of patients who have one of these inciting causes develop inflammatory
changes in the nerve roots and the surrounding arachnoid. Furthermore, not everyone
with the histological findings of arachnoiditis has a pain syndrome.
Although any of the causes listed above can precede the development of
arachnoiditis, none of them do so with any regularity. In addition to these factors, the
following causative agents are thought to be involved: syphilis; bacterial, fungal, or
disk space infection; intrathecal drug therapy; herniated nucleus pulposus; spinal
stenosis; radiation therapy; intradural tumor; and spinal anesthesia. It is not known
whether patients who develop inflammation in the arachnoid that progresses to
fibrosis have an alteration in their immunologic responses. The initial inflammatory
process can proceed to severe scarring, both within the arachnoid and within the nerve
roots themselves. The process can be restricted to one nerve root or can involve
various parts of the cauda equina.
Symptoms and Signs
The major problem with arachnoiditis is severe, unremitting pain in the lower back
and legs. Varying degrees of motor and sensory loss can be present, and in some
patients the scarring process in the arachnoid is associated with progressive, profound
neurologic loss, although this is relatively uncommon. The pain is aggravated by
movements or positions that stretch the lumbar nerve roots. Most patients say that
exercise aggravates their pain and rest relieves it.
The development of chronic low back and leg pain in a patient who has been exposed
to any of the causative factors should lead to the suspicion of arachnoiditis. Patchy
neurologic deficits that involve multiple nerve roots are common. Diagnostic studies
should reveal the absence of other structural lesions and the presence of nerve root
matting or clumping and filling defects in the arachnoid. This is often a diagnosis of
exclusion and is sometimes made without any real evidence.
No controlled studies have demonstrated effective treatments for arachnoiditis. Some
patients have responded to epidural and intrathecal steroids, usually administered with
a local anesthetic. Because steroids do not affect collagen that has been laid down to
form a scar, it is hard to explain their purported efficacy in arachnoiditis. Surgical
lysing of the scarred nerve roots has also been undertaken, with variable results at
best. Some patients lose neurological function after this operation. Because
arachnoiditis is probably a form of deafferentiation pain, ablative surgical procedures
are not indicated in most patients. Spinal cord stimulation has led to some
symptomatic improvement in many but not all patients.
Page 1472, the same author in 1990 wrote regarding the “apparent decrease” that had occurred in
arachnoiditis which he associated with the decrease use of “oil-based myelography”:
Complications of Surgery or Diagnostic Studies.
All surgical procedures and invasive diagnostic studies can result in complications that
perpetuate the patient’s pain complaints and often add to the neurological
abnormalities. Careful studies are required to identify preventable complications. One
of the most disabling complications is arachnoiditis, which seems to be less common
since the use of oil-based myeolography has been replaced by the use of water-soluble
media, CT scanning, and MRI. Surgical trauma, infection, inflammation, and bleeding
can also lead to arachnoiditis. Not every patient with the pathological changes typical
of arachnoiditis has low back pain, so much has yet to be learned about who hurts and
who does not.
A physician performing myelography in the late 1940's through the 1980's and even today in 2002
would be generally aware that any diagnostic invasive spinal procedure, including myelography,
carries some potential risk for a patient. All invasive spinal procedures potentially may result in
complications that can perpetuate a patient’s pain complaints and may produce future neurological
abnormalities, including the spectrum of “arachnoiditis”. Even in 1996 and 2000, the NIH
indicated that myelography, a diagnostic procedure, performed routinely in patients prior to spinal
surgery may cause numbness, tingling, and a characteristic stinging and burning pain, symptoms
associated with an “acute” and “ transient” arachnoiditis. Surgical trauma, infection,
inflammation, and bleeding have also all been associated with the ability to produce symptoms
attributable to arachnoiditis.
Research is still being done in the U.S. to help identify preventable complications of
myelography and spinal imaging such as arachnoiditis. By 1990 and with the decreasing use of
oil-based Pantopaque, there was also a corresponding decrease in arachnoiditis associated with
spinal imaging. Since surgical intervention, bleeding, infection, trauma and spinal imaging were
still occurring prior to 1990, each carrying its own anticipated rate of complications, the apparent
decrease in new cases of arachnoiditis, helped support that injection of Pantopaque by itself had
contributed its own unique “additive” role in the production of arachnoiditis.
Physicians and FDA in the 1940's through the 1980's were not informed by Lafayette Pharmacal
and Alcon Laboratories in their Pantopaque labeling, agency communications or submissions,
and communications of the true risks of intrathecal injection of the oil-based imaging agent,
Pantopaque for humans. They were not told that the “risks” of Pantoapaque were seen in animal
testing to be equivalent to the unacceptable “risks” of other oil-based imaging agents, iodinized
poppy seed oil, the subject of the American Medical Association’s 1932 warning to discourage its
use in the subarachnoid space. The University of Rochester, Steinhausen’s Ph.D research prior to
FDA’s approval in the 1940s and again in animal toxicity studies concluded by Hazelton
Laboratories in 1969 with receipt of reports of serious patient injuries should have demonstrated
or suggested to Lafayette Pharmacal that Pantopaque was associated with a “significantly
increased” risk of producing permanent, progressive adhesive and/or obliterative arachnoiditis
that would condemn certain patients to a lifetime of severe and unremitting pain.
When FDA was informed that Pantopaque was being withdrawn from the US market, the Agency
was told that it was a management decision to discontinue the production and sale of an oil-based
imaging product. FDA was not told that Pantopaque was being withdrawn due to litiginous
association with serious, permanent and devastating disease, nor was FDA informed by the
manufacturer that the firm had knowingly marketed a product from 1944 through the 1990s in the
US aware that there was not sufficient safety data to support marketing. March 1990 discussions
of FDA staff with news media regarding the “alleged” risks of injection of Pantopaque and
apparent lack of safety, FDA’s medical reviewer continued to advocate a clinical role for
Pantopaque in imaging of US patients.
It is my opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and based on my training and
experience, that such negligent actions by Lafayette Pharmacal and Alcon Laboratories prior to
1983 directly contributed to the chronic Pantopaque-related spinal injuries reported within the
I reserve the right to amend my opinions.
Suzanne Parisian, M.D.