In October, we reported that the oral hearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) took place in Case C-557/16 relating to the role of the Concerned Member States (CMS) in the Decentralised Procedure (DCP).

The Opinion of Advocate General Bobek has now been handed down. Although the AG takes no position on whether Ribomustin or Levact should have been used as the reference medicinal product, or when the applicable regulatory data protection (RDP) period started running, he opines that the CMS may raise issues as to RDP during the assessment phase and are co-responsible for the documents approved in that procedure. However, once agreement has been reached, CMSs cannot unilaterally revisit that decision. After authorisation, the courts of CMSs are competent to review the determination of the national competent authority.

Continue Reading AG opines that CMSs are co-responsible for MAs granted under the DCP

On 5 December 2017, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published a Post-implementation Review of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (the Review). The Review assesses the effectiveness and impact of the Human Medicines Regulation 2012 (the 2012 Regulations), which were introduced in the UK with a view to implementing a series of EU directives and to consolidate UK medicines legislation. The Review also sets out recommendations about how to address shortcomings identified in the 2012 Regulations.

Based on the Review, the 2012 Regulations are to be retained and it seems that no major overhaul of these Regulations is to be expected. However, there are likely to be several pieces of guidance issued by the MHRA in the near future in relation to those aspects of the 2012 Regulations that have proved most controversial (e.g., on cross-border prescriptions and wholesale dealing). It is hoped that these will provide welcome clarification. In addition, measures intended to ease the burden for manufacturers of generic medicinal products in relation to the maintenance and distribution of Risk Management Plans and Risk Minimisation Measures may be introduced shortly. The suggestion made by the MHRA in the Review is that work-sharing should be “encouraged” as between marketing authorisation holders, although some respondents to the consultation have suggested that work-sharing should be mandatory. It remains to be seen how, and in what form, the MHRA chooses to introduce any such new measures.

Our advisory, discussing this further, can be found here.

On 21 September 2017, Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe delivered his Opinion in Case C-179/16 Hoffmann-La Roche, finding that licensed and unlicensed medicinal products used for the same indication may fall within the same relevant product market.

Background

Genentech’s drugs Avastin (which is licensed to Roche) and Lucentis (licensed to Novartis) are based on different active substances but are derived from the same antibody and have similar mechanisms of action. Avastin obtained marketing authorisation first, for treatment of certain types of cancer and Lucentis later obtained marketing authorisation for treatment of certain ophthalmologic conditions. However, during the interval between grant of the two marketing authorisations, a number of medical practitioners used Avastin in smaller doses to treat ophthalmologic conditions. Furthermore some practitioners have continued to use Avastin even after grant of marketing authorisation for Lucentis because of the substantially lower treatment cost of Avastin.

Continue Reading Hoffman-La Roche – AG finds unlicensed use should be included in relevant product market

On 22 November 2017, the European Commission adopted new guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) specific to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs). ATMP manufacturers must ensure compliance with these guidelines no later than 22 May 2018.

The guidelines seek to reflect the rapid technological and medical advancements being made in the field of ATMPs (i.e. gene therapies, somatic cell therapies and tissue engineered products), such as decentralised manufacturing for autologous products, automated production, outsourced reconstitution, and gene editing technologies such as CRISPR and immunomodulators. Currently, these new technologies must comply with the general GMP guidelines set out in Volume 4 of The rules governing medicinal products in the European Union. However, these products are often developed in an academic or hospital setting under quality systems different to those typically required for the manufacture of conventional medicinal products.

Continue Reading New guidelines on GMP for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products

A quick note to inform you that the EMA launched its new improved version of the Eudravigilance system on 22 November 2017. It is now mandatory to report suspected ADRs through the new system.

The new system has been designed to offer “enhanced features for the reporting and analysis of suspected adverse reactions, to support stronger safety monitoring of medicines and a more efficient reporting process for stakeholders”. It will be interesting to monitor whether the system delivers these improvements, as time passes, and users become more familiar with it.

For further information, please refer to our previous blog and the attached guidance.

The Competent Authorities for Medical Devices (CAMD) was established to enhance collaborative working, communication and surveillance of medical devices across Europe. With the introduction of the Medical Devices Regulations (the MDR and IVDR), two groups were set up within the CAMD: (i) the Transition Subgroup, which will develop guidelines on the application of the MDR/IVDR during the transitional period, and details of which aspects of the Regulations devices will have to meet to be placed on the market during this time, and (ii) the Implementation Taskforce to facilitate collaboration and cooperation during the implementation phase of the new Regulations.

Earlier this month, the Implementation Taskforce published a high-level MDR/IVDR Roadmap. The Roadmap is the first glimpse into the intentions of the Commission and authorities across the EU as to how the Regulations will be implemented, and the order in which key guidance and clarification will be developed.

Continue Reading Roadmap on MDR/IVDR published

The awaited decision of the EU Member States on the new home for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was published today. The final destination, Amsterdam, does not come as a complete surprise, despite the fact that the key institutions involved in the process, the Commission, the EMA and the Council, have consistently avoided naming preferred locations. As of today, the EMA has 17 months to conclude its move and take up its operations from Amsterdam by the end of March 2019.

Continue Reading EMA’s New Home

The European Commission has finally published the draft amendment to Regulation No 847/2000 regarding the concept of “similar medicinal product” for the purposes of the Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation. A key incentive of this Regulation is the ten-year market exclusivity that protects an orphan medicinal product, whereby national competent authorities shall not accept an application for authorisation, or grant an authorisation, or accept an application to extend an existing authorisation, “for the same therapeutic indication, in respect of a similar medicinal product” as the orphan product. Regulation 847/2000 defines “similar medicinal product” in this context, and sets out a number of examples of what kind of products will be similar.

Following a consultation last year, the Commission intends to make changes to the 17-year-old text to account for the rise of cell therapies and other advanced therapy medicinal products, the nature of which do not fit neatly into the current definitions.

Continue Reading Draft Regulation amending definition of “similar medicinal product”

In July, we reported that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had announced a joint proposal to promote the use of innovative approaches to paediatric drug development. We noted that the EMA expected to publish a Reflection Paper setting out a systematic approach to extrapolation of paediatric data by the end of the year. This has now been published.

Continue Reading EMA Reflection Paper on paediatric extrapolation

EU Life Sciences: Product Liability Update

Please join us on 28 November 2017 for our Product Liability Update. This full-day seminar will provide in-house counsel with key insights into the latest developments in product liability and related areas in the context of medicinal products and medical devices. Our EU Life Sciences team will discuss issues related to the assessment of defect, responding to regulatory actions, off-label use, and clinical trial claims.

Topics include:

  • Implications of Regulatory Action/Status When Assessing “Defect”
  • Group Actions: Developments and Future Direction
  • Case Law in the UK, France and Germany: Update and Review
  • Update on Medical Devices
  • Medicinal Product- or Medical Device-Associated Deaths and Coroners’ Inquests
  • Clinical Trial Claims
  • Claims Handling and Procedures

The full agenda and link to RSVP can be found on the website. Hope to see you there!