On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement). This was the result of many months of detailed negotiation within an increasingly difficult political environment. The final Agreement does not cover all of the aspects about which life sciences companies have been concerned, and there are areas that will likely be the subject of further discussion during the implementation of the Agreement. However, many view the Agreement as being an important first step in the UK’s continuing relationship with the EU. We set out below a summary of the key aspects of the Agreement relevant to life sciences companies.

Continue Reading The EU-UK Agreement and the implications for life sciences companies

As the end of the transition period draws near and new laws and regulations are set to come into effect at 11.00pm UK time on Implementation Period Completion Day (31 December 2020)[1], it is important to appreciate the impact of the changes to businesses navigate through a post-Brexit era. Once the UK is no longer part of the European single market, what will it mean for parallel trade and exhaustion of intellectual property (IP) rights when goods are exported out of the UK into the EU and vice versa. Continue Reading End of Brexit transition period: Exhaustion of Intellectual Property Rights and Parallel Trade in the UK and EU

As part of its vision to build a European Health Union, the European Commission announced the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe (the new Strategy) on 25 November 2020. The new Strategy introduces new policies and ideas but also brings into the spotlight long standing challenges which were recently exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak. 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. Some of these revisions also affect the regulation of medical devices. The main elements of the new Strategy relate to innovation, availability, accessibility, affordability, and supply in relation to medicinal products.

In this post, we focus on the key proposed regulatory changes expected to impact the pharmaceutical industry. The post also discusses the implications of the new Strategy from the EU competition law perspective.

Continue Reading European Commission proposes a new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe

The UK MHRA has issued draft guidance on randomised controlled trials generating real-world evidence (RWE) that is used to support regulatory decisions. It is intended to be the first in a series of guidance documents addressing RWE. The guidance is part of the MHRA’s push to reinforce the view of the MHRA as a pro-innovative regulatory authority, and that the UK is a leading country in which to conduct clinical research, post-Brexit.

Continue Reading UK MHRA consultation on real-world evidence

On 20 October 2020, “The Human Medicines (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020” Bill was laid before the UK Parliament (the 2020 Bill). The Bill proposes amendments to various Statutory Instruments that were drafted in 2019 (the 2019 SIs) in anticipation of a “no-deal” Brexit. The 2019 SIs sought to enable the pharmaceutical regime in the UK to function independently of the EU, and for the MHRA to act as a stand-alone regulator of medicinal products placed on the UK market. The 2019 SIs have now been revived so that they are effective beyond the end of the transition period, which expires on 31 December 2020, subject to any agreement that may be reached with the EU about the ongoing relationship between the UK and EU.

The 2020 Bill includes a number of changes to the 2019 SIs, which themselves changed the current Human Medicines Regulations of 2012. However, one area that is of particular interest to the industry is the regulatory data protection (RDP), marketing protection and orphan exclusivity periods that apply to medicinal products authorised in the UK after the transition period. The 2020 Bill changes the position that had previously been set out in the 2019 SIs. Continue Reading RDP periods in the UK after Brexit

The European Commission has published a proposal for a Regulation reinforcing the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) role in crisis preparedness and management for medicinal products and medical devices. According to the European Commission, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that the EMA has a limited ability to manage availability issues relating to medicinal products and medical devices and lacks a framework for crisis response. The aim of the proposed Regulation is to set up such a framework which will allow the EU to respond effectively to health emergencies through broader engagement with the relevant stakeholders in a coordinated and timely manner to achieve the over-arching objective of public health protection. Continue Reading Draft EU Framework for Coordinated Approach to Addressing Emergency Public Health Threats

In this post, updating our series of posts on the implementation of the EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR), we take a look at the latest steps taken by the EU institutions to ensure the MDR is fully applicable by May 2021.

Despite the summer break and the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG) and the European Commission have endorsed a number of significant guidance documents relevant for manufacturers, national authorities, notified bodies and expert panels. In addition, the fourth implementing act, required by the MDR, has been adopted by the European Commission. Continue Reading EU Medical Devices Regulation: Adoption of further guidance documents

On 7 September 2020, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) initiated a public consultation on draft Guidelines 07/2020 on the concepts of controller and processor in the GDPR. Any interested party could provide comments by 19 October 2020 using the dedicated form.

The draft Guidelines contain elements that are of interest for companies active in the life science sector as they may have an impact on comapnies’ day-to-day research and commercial activities in the EU and their compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR). Continue Reading Draft EU guidelines on the concepts of controller and processor—key elements for life sciences companies

On 28 August 2020, the UK Department of Health & Social Care published a consultation on proposed changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Continue Reading Consultation on legislative changes to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the UK

Earlier this month, we commented on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation accelerating existing procedures for clinical trials where medicinal products containing or consisting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are tested for the development of vaccines and therapies to treat COVID-19. The European Commission had proposed that, during the pandemic and by derogation to the GMO regulatory framework, the requirement of a prior environmental risk assessment or consent by the national competent authorities should not apply. Continue Reading Update: Regulation for COVID-19 clinical trials conducted with medicinal products containing or consisting of GMOs has now been adopted