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.
Article 118a of Directive 2001/83/EC requires Member States to lay down “effective, proportionate and dissuasive” penalties for those who are involved in the manufacturing, distribution, brokering, import and export of falsified medicinal products. On 26 January 2018, the European Commission published a report on how this requirement has been met by individual Member States, based on a detailed study performed by external contractors, empirica and ZEIS, on behalf of the DG for Health and Food Safety.
The report indicated that 26 Member States had amended their legislation to accommodate new penalties for the falsification of medicinal products. The exceptions were Hungary, which changed its Criminal Code as a result of the Council of Europe Medicrime Convention, and Finland, which already had penalties in place before Article 118a took effect.
In 21 Member States, the manufacturing, distribution, brokering, import and export of falsified medicinal products attracts criminal penalties. In the remaining Member States (Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Sweden and Lithuania) only certain infringements are considered criminal.
On 22 November 2017, the European Commission adopted new guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) specific to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs). ATMP manufacturers must ensure compliance with these guidelines no later than 22 May 2018.
The guidelines seek to reflect the rapid technological and medical advancements being made in the field of ATMPs (i.e. gene therapies, somatic cell therapies and tissue engineered products), such as decentralised manufacturing for autologous products, automated production, outsourced reconstitution, and gene editing technologies such as CRISPR and immunomodulators. Currently, these new technologies must comply with the general GMP guidelines set out in Volume 4 of The rules governing medicinal products in the European Union. However, these products are often developed in an academic or hospital setting under quality systems different to those typically required for the manufacture of conventional medicinal products.
The European Commission has finally published the draft amendment to Regulation No 847/2000 regarding the concept of “similar medicinal product” for the purposes of the Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation. A key incentive of this Regulation is the ten-year market exclusivity that protects an orphan medicinal product, whereby national competent authorities shall not accept an application for authorisation, or grant an authorisation, or accept an application to extend an existing authorisation, “for the same therapeutic indication, in respect of a similar medicinal product” as the orphan product. Regulation 847/2000 defines “similar medicinal product” in this context, and sets out a number of examples of what kind of products will be similar.
Following a consultation last year, the Commission intends to make changes to the 17-year-old text to account for the rise of cell therapies and other advanced therapy medicinal products, the nature of which do not fit neatly into the current definitions.
Last week, the European Commission published its ten-year report on the implementation of the Paediatric Regulation 1901/2006 (together with a useful Questions & Answers document). The report provides an account of the Regulation’s achievements, both in public health and economic terms, and an analysis on the extent to which its objectives and aims have been met.
It concludes that positive advances in the development of medicines for children could not have been achieved without specific EU legislation, and that 260 new medicines (new marketing authorisations and new indications) have been authorised as a result. However, certain problem areas have been identified, in particular in relation to the interplay between the Paediatric Regulation and the Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation 141/2000. The report does not set out any proposals for amendments to the Regulation, but states it will be for the next Commission, after 2019, to implement any necessary changes.