After a public consultation last July, the EMA published its Reflection Paper on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) on 23 July 2021. The Paper aims to clarify the responsibilities of the MAH in the GMP guidelines and the applicable legislation. While it is not legally binding, the EMA expects competent authorities to use the Paper as guidance when performing inspections, and so MAHs should familiarise themselves with the document. In this blog we have summarised the key takeaways. Continue Reading EMA Reflection Paper on Good Manufacturing Practices and Marketing Authorisation Holders

We discussed in previous posts the Commission’s announcement at the end of 2020 of its new pharmaceutical strategy for the EU. One topic identified as in need of revision was the unmet medical needs in areas currently not within the scope of the legislation governing rare diseases and paediatric medicines.  We have previously discussed recent consultations and stakeholder engagements by the Commission to explore possible changes to the legislative regime in these areas, including the possibility of reducing the ten-year market exclusivity period for orphan medicines and changing the criteria for determining the rarity of a disease.

Following the responses to these consultations, in May 2021, the Commission launched its latest public Consultation on the proposed revisions to the legislation.  The Commission’s statement accompanying the launch asserts that its evaluation “revealed shortcomings in the current system concerning in particular the development of medicines in areas of high unmet need for patients and their accessibility to all EU patients across the Member States.” Industry bodies representing the innovative pharmaceutical industry have now published their responses to the Consultation, as summarised below. Continue Reading Industry’s response to the Commission’s proposed amendments to the EU orphan and paediatric legislation

On 7 July 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted the final version of its guidelines 07/2021 on the concepts of controller and processor in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Guidelines), following a period of public consultation regarding the first draft of the Guidelines (about which we reported in an earlier blogpost). As discussed below, the final Guidelines have considerable significance for the life sciences sector.

Another key GDPR development that is directly relevant for the life sciences sector and international transfers of personal health data (e.g., conduct of cross-border clinical trials) is the adoption of the new version of the standard contractual clauses (New SCCs) published by the European Commission (EC) on 4 June 2021. The second part of this blogpost outlines some key takeaways of the New SCCs. (We provide a more detailed analysis of the design, scope and main content of the New SCCs in our related advisory.)

Continue Reading Recent GDPR developments relevant for the life sciences sector

As we have discussed in previous posts, at the end of 2020, the European Commission set out its vision to build a European Health Union with its announcement of the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe (the new Strategy). In 2021, the Commission has begun to implement the new Strategy, as discussed here. One area that was identified as in need of revision was the unmet medical needs in areas currently not within the scope of the legislation governing rare diseases and paediatric medicines. The Commission has been focused on this area for a number of years, and there have been a number of consultations and stakeholder engagements to explore possible changes to the legislative regime. We set out below a summary of the Commission’s proposals on orphan and paediatric medicinal products.

Continue Reading European Commission’s proposed amendments to orphan and paediatric legislation

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is growing at a significant pace and  spreading across many industry sectors, including healthcare. With the rapid development of AI technology which has the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our lives, including in providing and receiving healthcare services, the concept of “creations of the mind” is no longer limited to creations by a human being. These technological developments mean that the legal framework governing intellectual property (IP) rights such as patents and copyright, which protect “creations of the mind”, may need to be adjusted to address the changes and impacts brought about by the use of AI.

In line with the UK government’s ambition for the UK to be a leader in AI and to better understand the implications AI might have for IP policy, as well as the impact IP might have for AI in the short to medium term, the UK IPO conducted a public consultation at the end of 2020. The aim of the consultation was to seek responses on a range of questions relating to AI and IP rights. The UK IPO received 92 responses from a wide range of stakeholders, including IP rights holders, producers of AI technology and academia. The government’s response to the call for views on AI and IP was published in March 2021, under which reforms to patent and copyright law and policy were discussed.

In this blog, we summarise the UK government’s conclusions from the consultation before considering the potential impact to digital health applications and companies.

Continue Reading AI and IP: Implications for digital health from possible reforms to UK IP law

At the end of 2020, the European Commission set out its vision to build a European Health Union with its announcement of the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe (the new Strategy). As we discussed in a previous blog, the new Strategy seeks to introduce new policies and ideas, whilst bringing into the spotlight long standing challenges which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new Strategy puts forward numerous proposals for legislative reforms that are likely to affect the regulation of the entire life cycle of a medicinal product and the regulation of medical devices. As a reminder, the key elements of the new Strategy relate to innovation, availability, accessibility, affordability, and supply of medicinal products.

In this post, we focus on the developments in the first half of 2021, including a pilot project launched by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on market access and the Commission’s Roadmap on revisions to the pharmaceutical legislation.

Continue Reading Update on the European Commission’s proposed new pharmaceutical strategy

The day is finally here! Four years after it entered into force, the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) is applicable today, the 26 May 2021. We have discussed the aspirations and implications of the MDR, we have commented on the slow rate of implementation, and we have heard, and share, some of the frustration expressed by companies as they have prepared for today. From today, industry, regulatory bodies, external advisors and customers will be able to experience the consequences of the radical reform of the medical devices regulatory framework that has been introduced by the MDR.

We have published several blog posts on the key changes and progress of the implementation of the MDR. In this post, now the MDR is officially applicable, we briefly cover where we stand in relation to some of the issues and concerns for the industry. The European Commission recently said that “the 26th of May is not an end date” and we couldn’t agree more. While the MDR was focused on increasing patient safety and the oversight of devices, there is still a lot of work to be done, and there remains a number of outstanding questions. We believe there will need to be a great deal of flexibility by all parties over the coming months in other to avoid disruption for patients.

Continue Reading The EU Medical Devices Regulation applies today!

Earlier this month, the European Commission published an updated version of the 2011 Note on the handling of duplicate marketing authorisation applications for medicinal products (the 2011 Note). Following a long period of consultation and exchange with stakeholders and representatives from the EU Member States, the European Commission has sought to clarify the conditions under which applications for duplicate marketing authorisations will be assessed. In this blog post, we discuss the relevant changes, as well as the implications for the industry. Continue Reading European Commission publishes updated guidance for duplicate marketing authorisations

New EU rules under chemicals and waste legislation require manufacturers and suppliers of products to provide information to a centralized EU database.  These rules may also affect the medical devices industry.

SCIP database

Since 5 January 2021, a new obligation to notify the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”) applies to suppliers of articles containing substances of very high concern (“SVHCs”) in a concentration above 0,1 % weight by weight (w/w). The obligation is established under the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC (“WFD”) which cross-references Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (“the REACH Regulation”) and provides the basis for the creation of a new database collating information on “Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products)” (known as “the SCIP database”) to which notifications must be submitted under the supervision of ECHA (Article 9 of WFD).

According to ECHA, the aim of the new notification obligation is to ensure that information on SVHCs is available throughout the whole lifecycle of articles and materials, including the waste stage. SVHCs are hazardous substances (e.g., carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction) included in the Candidate List for authorisation of the REACH Regulation. Information submitted to the SCIP database will be accessible to national authorities, waste treatment facilities, supply chain operators and consumers. ECHA intends to publish the submitted information as received, unless the protection of confidential business information can be justified. Continue Reading EU Chemicals: Obligation to notify ECHA on hazardous substances and its impact on the medical devices industry

The UK’s Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has, together with the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), published the new Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry (the 2021 Code).  Publication of the 2021 Code follows a consultation conducted in 2020, with subsequent revisions prior to approval on 12 January 2021.

The 2021 Code will be implemented from 1 July 2021  and represents a significant structural revision of the current 2019 Code. It is described as the most extensive revision to the Code in over 30 years. There is no transition period for the new arrangements after 1 July 2021, other than for medical and educational goods and services (MEGS). The supplementary information to Clauses 20 and 23 sets out a 6 month period (until 31 December 2021) during which ongoing MEGS, provided under Clause 19 of the 2019 Code, may continue without the need to be reclassified as either a donation or collaborative working and comply with any new requirements as a result of this change.

Some of the key changes introduced through the  2021 Code are summarised below. Continue Reading New 2021 Code of Practice for the British Pharmaceutical Industry