21 CFR 17.45 - Initial decision.
(a) The presiding officer shall issue an initial decision based only on the administrative record. The decision shall contain findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the amount of any penalties and assessments imposed.
(b) The findings of fact shall include a finding on each of the following issues:
(1) Whether the allegations in the complaint are true, and, if so, whether respondent's actions identified in the complaint violated the law;
(2) Whether any affirmative defenses are meritorious; and
(3) If the respondent is liable for penalties or assessments, the appropriate amount of any such penalties or assessments, considering any mitigating or aggravating factors that he or she finds in the case.
(c) The presiding officer shall serve the initial decision or the decision granting summary decision on all parties within 90 days after the time for submission of posthearing briefs and responsive briefs (if permitted) has expired. If the presiding officer believes that he or she cannot meet the 90-day deadline, he or she shall notify the Commissioner of Food and Drugs or other entity designated by the Commissioner to decide the appeal of the reason(s) therefor, and the Commissioner or that entity may then set a new deadline.
(d) Unless the initial decision or the decision granting summary decision of the presiding officer is timely appealed, the initial decision or the decision granting summary decision shall constitute the final decision of FDA and shall be final and binding on the parties 30 days after it is issued by the presiding officer.