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 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 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
After a public consultation last July, the EMA published its Reflection Paper on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) on 23 July 2021. The Paper aims to clarify the responsibilities of the MAH in the GMP guidelines and the applicable legislation. While it is not legally binding, the EMA expects competent authorities to use the Paper as guidance when performing inspections, and so MAHs should familiarise themselves with the document. In this blog we have summarised the key takeaways.
Continue Reading EMA Reflection Paper on Good Manufacturing Practices and Marketing Authorisation Holders
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
On 11 June 2020, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), during its Management Board meeting, has endorsed the methodology and next steps leading to the go-live of the Clinical Trials Information System (CTIS) which is now fixed for December 2021. A group consisting of representatives of the EU Member States and the European Commission has been set up to prioritise and coordinate all outstanding issues prior to go-live. The CTIS is the centralised EU portal and database for information storage foreseen by the Clinical Trials Regulation.
Continue Reading EU Clinical Trials Regulation: The Clinical Trials Information System expected to go live by December 2021, according to the EMA
On 4 May 2020, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a guidance to support development and regulatory approval for treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 with the involvement of the dedicated EMA Pandemic Task Force (COVID-ETF). It sets out the available regulatory pathways to fast-track assessment of both new or repurposed methods of treating or preventing COVID-19.
This guidance is part of EMA’s efforts to support the development and availability of medicinal products for COVID-19 to address this public health emergency. See also EMA’s guidance on clinical management trials (which we have summarised in a prior Advisory)
This latest guidance is based on the existing and established regulatory procedures to accelerate regulatory review and approval with appropriate adaptations in direct response to COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading EMA Guidance on fast-tracking the development and approval of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19