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On 1 February 2024, the Danish Data Protection Agency announced that it reported the private hospital HP Gildhøj Privathospital ApS’s (Capio A/S) to the Danish police and recommended imposing a fine of not less than DKK 1,500,000 (over 200.000 euros). In their investigation, the Danish Data Protection Agency found that the hospital had failed to effectively supervise the data processors they used for the processing of large amounts of patients’ sensitive  personal data.Continue Reading Proposed fine against Danish hospital for failure to supervise data processors

On 12 December 2023, the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) published the first version of the Union list of critical medicines (the list). Along with the list, the EMA published a Questions & Answers document (Q&A).Continue Reading European Commission, HMA and EMA Publish First Union List of Critical Medicines

On 24 October 2023, the European Commission published a Communication on “Addressing medicine shortages in the EU” (the Communication). The Communication responds to the European Council’s call in June for urgent measures to ensure production and availability of critical medicines (i.e., the unavailability of which may cause patients serious harm, and whose supply must be ensured even in crisis periods) and to diversify international supply chains. On the same date, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published details on the Solidarity Mechanism, recently created by the EMA Medicines Shortages Steering Group (MSSG) to facilitate redistribution of medicines between Member States (MS) in cases of critical shortages (i.e., medicine shortages where no alternative is available).

These EU-level actions are in addition to the mechanisms to tackle shortages already included in the European Commission’s proposal for a reform of the EU Pharmaceutical Legislation (read our advisory).Continue Reading New EU-level actions addressing shortages

In September 2023, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) relaunched its Policy 0070 on publication of clinical data for medicinal products for human use (the Policy). The Policy, as discussed in previous posts, is one of the Agency’s flagship public health initiatives focused on promoting the transparency of both EMA decision-making and clinical data, sharing of knowledge and use in future research.

While the Policy was adopted by the EMA back in 2014, it has been suspended since 2018 due to the EMA’s relocation to Amsterdam and COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EMA adopted exceptional transparency measures for centrally approved COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. This was deemed a success further showing the need for clinical data sharing and, thus, the need  for relaunching the Policy.Continue Reading EMA relaunches Policy 0070 on publication of clinical data for medicinal products for human use

On 19 July 2023, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a draft Reflection paper on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the lifecycle of medicines (the Paper). The Paper recognises the value of this technology as part of the digital transformation within healthcare, and acknowledges its increasing use and potential to “support the acquisition, transformation, analysis, and interpretation of data within the medicinal product lifecycle”, provided of course it is “used correctly”.

The Paper reflects EMA’s early experience with and considerations on the use of AI, and gives a sense of how EMA expects applicants and holders of marketing authorisations to use AI and machine learning (ML) tools. The EMA has made clear that the use of AI should comply with existing rules on data requirements as applicable to the particular function that the AI is undertaking. It is clear that any data generated by AI/ML will be closely scrutinised by the EMA, and a risk-based approach should be taken depending on the AI functionality and the use for which the data is generated.

The Paper is open for consultation until 31 December 2023. EMA also plans to hold a workshop on 20-21 November 2023 to further discuss the draft Paper. EMA’s plan is to use the feedback from the public consultation to finalise the Paper and produce future detailed guidance. Our summary below sets out the key takeaways and the key issues that arise in the Paper.Continue Reading EMA publishes first draft of reflection paper on the use of AI in the medicinal product lifecycle

On June 14, 2023, an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament (Parliament) recently voted to pass the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), marking another major step toward the legislation becoming law. As we previously reported, the AI Act regulates artificial intelligence (AI) systems according to risk level and imposes highly prescriptive requirements on systems considered to be high-risk. The AI Act has a broad extraterritorial scope, sweeping into its purview providers and deployers of AI systems regardless of whether they are established in the EU. Businesses serving the EU market and selling AI-derived products or deploying AI systems in their operations should continue preparing for compliance.

Now, the Parliament, Council, and Commission have embarked on the trilogue, a negotiation among the three bodies to arrive at a final version for ratification by the Parliament and Council. They aim for ratification before the end of 2023 with the AI Act to come into force two (or possibly three) years later.

In our recent advisory, we summarize the major changes introduced by the Parliament and guide businesses on preparing for compliance with the substantial new mandates the legislation will impose.Continue Reading European Parliament Adopts Its Version of AI Act

Today, 26 April 2023, the European Commission (the Commission) published its long-awaited proposed amendments to the EU regulatory framework for medicinal products (the Proposals). We set out the key takeaways from these Proposals in our Advisory.

This is the culmination of a number of years’ work by the Commission, starting with the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe (the Strategy) announced on 25 November 2020. We set out a summary of and reasons behind the Strategy in a previous Advisory, noting that the Strategy sought to ensure a high level of public health by increasing the availability, accessibility, and affordability of medicinal products throughout the EU and harmonize the internal market.

To meet these goals, the Commission has proposed substantial changes to the EU regulatory system, via a new Directive that will replace Directive 2001/83 (medicinal products for human use), and a new Regulation that will replace Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 (authorization and supervision of medicinal products), Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 (orphan medicinal products), and Regulation (EC) No 1901/2006 (pediatric medicines). The Proposals include changes to the regulatory protections available for medicinal products and orphan medicinal products and a new procedure relating to shortages of medicinal products. Continue Reading Proposed Amendments to the EU Regulatory Framework for Medicinal Products

On 25 January 2023, the UK government published its response to the consultation on Point of Care (POC) manufacturing, described as personalised medicines made for the patient either within or very close to the healthcare setting. The joint consultation between the MHRA and the Northern Ireland Department of Health sought views on legislative proposals to introduce a new regulatory framework for the manufacture and supply of POC products. Those proposals were warmly received by stakeholders and steps will now be taken to introduce amendments to the legislative framework for POC manufacture and supply.Continue Reading MHRA consultation on medicines manufactured at the point of care

On 18 November 2022, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a draft reflection paper (Paper) for public consultation on the criteria for the evaluation of new active substance (NAS) status for biological substances. The Paper provides guidance for applicants on the elements required for a successful NAS claim, including practical examples and a Q&A. This is an area of significant practical importance for pharmaceutical companies and the Paper is a key element to consider during the development of regulatory strategies for biological, biotechnology-derived and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs).

Chemical active substances are excluded from the scope of the Paper, given they are already addressed in two previous reflection papers. The Paper builds on these reflection papers and provides guidance to applicants based on the EMA’s experience with biological products to date, and the current scientific thinking.

The public consultation on the Paper is open until 31 May 2023.Continue Reading Evaluation of New Active Substance Status for Biological Products in the EU

On 14 July 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on the safety and quality of substances of human origin (SoHO) intended for human application. When adopted, the proposed Regulation will repeal and replace the currently applicable Directive 2002/98/EC on blood (the Blood Directive) and Directive 2004/23/EC on tissues and cells (the Tissue and Cells Directive), with the aim of reforming and modernising the existing EU legislation. The proposal sets out requirements and standards for the safety and quality of blood, tissues, and cells (BTC), as well as other SoHOs, through a single instrument that will apply in all EU Member States in a (hopefully) harmonised manner.

This will be a major development for life sciences companies operating in the EU, including companies developing advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs, such as cell and gene therapies) manufactured from or using SoHOs. The Regulation will apply from donation to human application, unless the SoHOs are used in the manufacture of medicinal products or medical devices, in which case the Regulation will apply to donation, collection and testing of the substances only. A public consultation is open until 8 September 2022, and the proposal will also be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament. Once the final text is agreed and adopted, it will come into force, with the proposal setting out a 2-year or 3-year transition period depending on the provision.Continue Reading EU Commission adopts Proposal for a Regulation on substances of human origin