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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

In September 2021, we posted about the European Commission’s implementation of its new pharmaceutical strategy (which was also discussed in more detail in our posts on the strategyproposed amendments to orphan and paediatric legislation and the industry response). Readers will be aware that the focus of the Strategy is on the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicinal products, based on the view that current incentive models do not provide an adequate solution for unmet medical needs or appropriately incentivise investment in innovation. As part of its work on the revision of the EU pharmaceutical legislation, the European Commission launched a public consultation to seek views on the current framework and on some of the proposals for changes in order to support the European Commission’s impact assessment for the revision of the legislation.

Following this consultation, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) published an article entitled “Back Innovation, Boost Access” with its response to the EU pharmaceutical strategy consultations and some of the concerns raised by the Commission. This expresses EFPIA’s position that innovation is only meaningful if patients have access to it, but highlights that access is not always in the control of the pharmaceutical companies. It also describes the current status of access to medicines in the EU Member States, some of the reasons for the delays to access and EFPIA’s proposals to improve patient access to innovative medicines.Continue Reading EFPIA’s Response to EU Pharmaceutical Strategy Consultations

Earlier this month, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation for the European Health Data Space (EHDS) aimed at regulating and facilitating electronic health data access and sharing across the European Union (the Proposal). The two main objectives of the EHDS are to (i) enable individuals to easily access and control their electronic health data; and (ii) allow researchers, innovators and policy makers to use electronic health data in a lawful, legitimate, trusted and secure way that preserves privacy and the fundamental rights of patients.
Continue Reading EU Digital Health Policy: European Commission launches European Health Data Space

On 31 January 2022, Regulation (EU) 2022/123 on a reinforced role for the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) in crisis preparedness and management for medicinal products and medical devices was published in the Official Journal of the EU. This Regulation sets out a stronger role for the EMA in managing public health crises, and aims to formalise the ad-hoc structures and processes that have been used by the EMA during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intention is that these ad hoc process can now serve as a blueprint for a more harmonised EU response to future public health emergencies.

The reinforced role of the EMA is seen as an important development for the European Health Union. It aims to ensure that the EU is better prepared to manage future health crises by tackling shortages of medicines and medical devices more effectively and to develop medical countermeasures to address the threats posed to public health at an early stage and in a harmonised way. As part of this, the Regulation sets out important provisions on monitoring shortages of medicines and devices, and a greater role of the EMA in overseeing medical devices.Continue Reading New EU Regulation Reinforcing the Role of the EMA

In May 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a draft guidance (Draft Guidance) addressing the requirement for all investigators involved in clinical trials conducted under a U.S. Investigational New Drug (IND) application to sign Form FDA 1572. This includes investigators in clinical trial sites outside the U.S.

By signing Form FDA 1572 (Form 1572), the investigator of a drug or biologic trial warrants that they and any listed staff have the experience and background needed to conduct the trial and agrees to comply with the protocol and all applicable U.S. regulatory provisions governing the conduct of clinical trials.  From an FDA standpoint, it provides a clear basis of responsibility (and potential liability) under the applicable clinical trial regulations (21 CFR 312) for those who sign the form.  It also raises questions about the extent of FDA’s extraterritorial reach over non-U.S. investigators who conduct IND studies outside of the United States.Continue Reading FDA Guidance on Clinical Investigators Signing Form FDA 1572 and Practical Challenges Outside the US