FDA and Chevron Deference: A Case Review

Liam Bendicksen, Aaron S. Kesselheim & C. Joseph Ross Daval


Courts granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considerable deference to carry out its mission throughout the twentieth century, recognizing the agency’s scientific expertise and public health mission. Recent Supreme Court decisions such as West Virginia v. EPA, however, have eroded this longstanding practice and cast doubt on the future of deference accorded to administrative agencies when they act pursuant to statutory language that is not always clear-cut. To understand the state of judicial deference to FDA, this Article investigates how federal appellate courts have applied the framework set forth in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in litigation involving FDA actions since 2000.