On 20 March, the Commission proposed several measures intending to boost technology and biomanufacturing in the EU, including the Commission Communication Building the future with nature: Boosting Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing in the EU; and Questions & Answers on the Commission Communication.

The Communication, while directed towards the broader biotech sector, refers to the aim to have a resilient EU biotech ecosystem to safeguard the supply of innovative and generic medicines. It recognizes the significance of vaccine and mRNA technology research for cancer, cardiovascular infectious, and rare diseases, as well as the role of AI in personalized healthcare and diagnostics, including generative AI for medicines discovery and complex genetic diseases.

At the same time, it acknowledges the challenges found in the biotech sector in the EU due to complex regulatory obstacles both nationally and at EU level; or the uncertainty over the return of their investments. Continue Reading Commission Communication on biotechnology and biomanufacturing

On 12 March, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Delegated Regulation to amend Regulation (EC) No 1234/2008 as regards the examination of variations to the terms of marketing authorisations for medicinal products for human use.

Scientific and technological advancements have led to a rise in the number of requests for variations to marketing authorisations (MA) and have brought the need to revise the variations procedure to make it more efficient and adaptable to change, in particular in relation to biological medicinal products, vaccines and medical devices.

The proposal aims to make the variations procedure simpler, clearer and more flexible to be able to respond to scientific and technological progress, and to reduce administrative burden.Continue Reading European Commission proposal to amend the Variation Regulation for Medicines

On 15 March 2024, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU legislators) reached a provisional agreement on the text of the Regulation creating a European Health Data Space (EHDS).

Please note that the text of the agreement has not yet been officially published. This blog is solely based on the press releases that have been published by each of the institutions on their websites (available here, here and here) and has been updated considering some additional indications as to the content of the agreed text.Continue Reading EU legislators reach provisional agreement on the European Health Data Space

On 23 January 2024, the European Commission announced proposals to amend the Medical Device Regulations (EU) 2017/745 (MDR) and the In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Regulations (EU) 2017/746 (IVDR), as applicable, to:

  • extend the transition provisions for certain in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs) under the IVDR
  • allow for a gradual roll-out of Eudamed so that certain modules will be mandatory from late 2025
  • include a notification obligation in case of interruption of supply

The proposal will now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and Council before it enters into force. However, as the proposal follows a similar structure to the recent amendments to the MDR, we do not anticipate significant changes during the legislative process.Continue Reading Commission proposes extension to IVDR transition periods and accelerated launch of Eudamed

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

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

With much fanfare, in January 2023, the European Commission released its proposal to extend the MDR transition periods and abolish the ‘sell-off’ deadline, after which medical devices and in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) would have to be withdrawn from the EU and EEA market. Today, the proposal has been adopted via Regulation 2023/607 (the Regulation), and will come into force today, 20 March 2023. This date is now important, as CE certificates that expired before today may be able to be considered as valid if certain conditions are met. Certificates that expire from today until the new transition periods will be considered as valid if the conditions set out below are met. This provides important breathing space for companies and should ensure that a large number of devices are not withdrawn from the market over the next year.Continue Reading Extension to EU MDR transition periods finalised

On 27 February 2023, an agreement in principle was reached by the UK and EU, known as the Windsor Agreement, relating to post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland (NI). The principles are expected to be approved shortly by the EU-UK Joint Committee. The UK Government and the EU institutions will then enact legislative measures to make the necessary amendments to their laws. 

Following Brexit, from 31 January 2020, the UK is no longer subject to EU single-market rules or the EU legislative framework. However, under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, NI continues to follow EU rules. This is to avoid customs checks between NI and the Republic of Ireland. In practice, this means that medicinal products on the market in NI must be authorised in line with the EU regime, which no longer applies in Great Britain. This causes difficulties for companies marketing their products in the UK, as different authorisations, following different rules, apply in different parts of the UK. It also means that patients have access to different products in GB or NI.

The current agreement covers a number of sectors, and in relation to medicines, the aim is to simplify supply between GB and NI, and ensure that only one authorisation is needed and one set of rules needs to be followed within the UK. However, much detail still needs to be published so that companies can fully understand the impact of the changes on their medicines supply chains.Continue Reading The Windsor Agreement and supply of medicinal products in Northern Ireland

It is well known that there are significant problems with the implementation of the Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745 (MDR), in particular notified body capacity and the vast number of products that need to go through the new regime before the end of the transitional period. After sustained pressure from companies and Member States alike, late last week (on 9 December), the Commission finally confirmed that it intends to extend the transitional period under the MDR. Member States are said to have agreed with the proposals. We set out a summary of what is known so far below.
Continue Reading Delay to EU MDR is on the horizon