(a) A regulatory hearing is public, except when the Commissioner determines that all or part of a hearing should be closed to prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; to prevent the disclosure of a trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information that is not available for public disclosure under § 20.61; or to protect investigatory records complied for law enforcement purposes that are not available for public disclosure under § 20.64.
(1) The Commissioner may determine that a regulatory hearing is closed either on the Commissioner's initiative or on a request by the party asking for a regulatory hearing, in the request for the hearing.
(2) If the hearing is a private hearing, no persons other than the party requesting the hearing, counsel and witnesses, and an employee or consultant or other person subject to a commercial arrangement as defined in § 20.81(a) and FDA representatives with a direct professional interest in the subject matter of the proceeding are entitled to attend.
(b) A regulatory hearing will be conducted by a presiding officer. Employees of FDA will first give a full and complete statement of the action which is the subject of the hearing, together with the information and reasons supporting it, and may present any oral or written information relevant to the hearing. The party requesting the hearing may then present any oral or written information relevant to the hearing. All parties may confront and conduct reasonable cross-examination of any person (except for the presiding officer and counsel for the parties) who makes any statement on the matter at the hearing.
(c) The hearing is informal in nature, and the rules of evidence do not apply. No motions or objections relating to the admissibility of information and views will be made or considered, but any other party may comment upon or rebut all such data, information, and views.
(d) The presiding officer may order the hearing to be transcribed. The party requesting the hearing may have the hearing transcribed, at the party's expense, in which case a copy of the transcript is to be furnished to FDA. Any transcript of the hearing will be included with the presiding officer's report of the hearing.
(e) The presiding officer shall prepare a written report of the hearing. All written material presented at the hearing will be attached to the report. Whenever time permits, the parties to the hearing will be given the opportunity to review and comment on the presiding officer's report of the hearing.
(f) The presiding officer shall include as part of the report of the hearing a finding on the credibility of witnesses (other than expert witnesses) whenever credibility is a material issue, and shall include a recommended decision, with a statement of reasons, unless the Commissioner directs otherwise.
(g) The presiding officer has the power to take such actions and make such rulings as are necessary or appropriate to maintain order and to conduct a fair, expeditious, and impartial hearing, and to enforce the requirements of this part concerning the conduct of hearings. The presiding officer may direct that the hearing be conducted in any suitable manner permitted by law and these regulations.
(h) The Commissioner or the presiding officer has the power under § 10.19 to suspend, modify, or waive any provision of this part.