Yesterday, the EMA launched a new secure online portal called IRIS for the submission of applications for orphan designation and the management of post-designation activities. The aim is for the portal to be used for all activities relating to orphan designation, including applying for orphan designation, requesting pre-submission meetings, responding to requests for supplementary information and transferring orphan designation to a new sponsor. The hope is that this will provide a “comprehensive procedural and scientific support system for orphan designations”, and IRIS is being treated as a “pilot for [a] future Agency-wide platform for procedure management”. Continue Reading Launch of the EMA’s Orphan Designation Portal
While the Clinical Trials Regulation (EU No. 536/2014) (the Regulation) was adopted in April 2014, the Regulation does not come into operation until 6 months after the clinical trials portal and database (the EUPD) has been set up, independently audited, and notification of the successful audit published by the Commission. The operation of this database has been delayed a number of times, as the development of a system to cover so many aspects of the new Regulation is taking longer than expected.
The European Commission has published a consultation on proposed changes to its 2011 Note on the handling of duplicate marketing authorisations. The Consultation Document explains that the objective of the consultation is to seek views on the impact of duplicate authorisations of biological medicinal products on the availability of biosimilars to healthcare professionals and patients.
As reported in our previous post, at the end of last year, the European Commission published a draft amendment to Regulation No 847/2000 regarding the concept of “similar medicinal product” for the purposes of the Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation. Last week, the final Regulation was published: Regulation (EU) 2018/781. The new Regulation is intended to take account of the rise of cell therapies and other advanced therapy medicinal products, the nature of which do not fit neatly into the current definitions.
The final Regulation is very similar to the one released for consultation, with a few minor clarification points added, namely to specifically refer to changes with respect to safety, as well as intended therapeutic effect, when considering whether two advanced therapy products are similar.
The Regulation will enter into force on 19 June 2018.
On 22 March 2018, the European General Court handed down its judgment in Case T-80/16 Shire Pharmaceuticals Ireland v EMA. Shire had sought annulment of the EMA’s decision refusing to validate its 2015 application for designation of its medicinal product Indursulfase-IT as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of Hunter Syndrome. This decision is particularly important for innovator companies who invest in R&D for rare diseases, and will likely have an impact on incentivizing this type of research.
In 2001, a Shire product containing the active substance idursulfase was designated as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of Hunter Syndrome. This was followed in 2007 by the grant of a marketing authorisation for the medicinal product Elaprase, containing the active substance idursulfase, and administered as a solution for intravenous infusion. In parallel, Shire started developing another medicinal product containing the same active substance. However this product, Idursulfase-IT, could be delivered intrathecally, whereas Elaprase did not cross the blood-brain barrier. Intrathecal administration of the new product allowed treatment of cognitive disorders associated with a severe form of Hunter Syndrome.
Judgment was handed down on 21 May in the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip group litigation: Gee & Others v DePuy International Limited  EWHC 1208 (QB)
312 claimants in the group litigation brought claims against DePuy, alleging that the hip prostheses with which they had been implanted were defective for the purposes of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (the Act) and the Product Liability Directive 85/374/EC (the Directive). The judgement followed a trial at first instance of a common preliminary issue, namely “whether or not the defendant is liable to the claimant, subject to any development risk defence.” The preliminary issue encompassed questions of causation.
Many things have changed since 1985, in particular in the world of technology. The Commission’s 10 page report and evaluation of 7 May 2018 questions whether the Product Liability Directive of 1985 (“the Directive”) is still fit for purpose. The Directive was implemented to protect consumer safety and imposes strict liability (i.e. no requirement for the injured party to prove fault) on a producer of defective products for personal injury or damage to property caused by the defect.
The Commission’s Report
Although, historically, the Commission has reported on the implementation of the Directive to the Council and Parliament every 5 years, this is the first time that the report has been accompanied by an evaluation of the relevance of the Directive in the EU today, owing to widespread concerns regarding the invention and everyday use of “products” that were not even imagined back in 1985. The report recognises the urgent need to consider whether the Directive, in its current form, adequately deals with the challenges posed by “digitisation, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity” now and in the future, and, if it does not, what changes would be required to address the shortcomings.
The new EudraVigilance drug safety monitoring system has now been up and running for nearly 5 months, and the EMA has recently published an updated Q&A, featuring questions submitted by users, either through the service desk, or following the various technical and pharmacovigilance webinars run by the EMA.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 comes into force on 25 May 2018. It is a substantial change to the EU’s data protection regime, and non-compliance may lead to heavy fines. On the eve of implementation, Arnold & Porter’s Future Pharma Forum invites you to a roundtable discussion on how life will differ under the new legislation, and key issues that in-house lawyers should be aware of.
- A refresher on the GDPR, what it covers and how it applies to life sciences companies
- An overview of latest guidance and developments in the run up to implementation
- Discussion of current hot topics / open questions for the life sciences sector
The European Ombudsman, who investigates complaints of maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union, recently handed down its decision in a case against the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The complaint concerned the EMA’s refusal to disclose the identity of parties who request access to documents held by the EMA. In the past, the EMA had stated that the “identity and/or the name of the organisation of the requestor will be used for the sole purpose of processing the request and will not be disclosed to third parties”. Instead, third parties, including the owner of the document requested, would only be told the request came from a “pharmaceutical company” or “law firm”. Last week, the Ombudsmen confirmed that the EMA has changed its policy in light of its recommendations.