Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (3):654-664 (2013)

Abstract
The Food and Drug Administration authorizes the marketing of a drug only for uses that the manufacturer has demonstrated to be safe and effective, based on evidence from at least two clinical trials. However, the FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, so physicians may prescribe drugs in any manner they choose. Prescribing drugs in ways that deviate from the uses specified in the FDA-approved drug label, package insert, and marketing authorization is referred to as off-label prescribing. This occurs when physicians prescribe a drug for a therapeutic purpose other than the one approved by the FDA; treat patients in a different age cohort or gender than the population on which it was tested; or prescribe a different dose, for a different duration of use, or a different mode of administration than indicated on the label.
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DOI 10.1111/jlme.12075
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