On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement). This was the result of many months of detailed negotiation within an increasingly difficult political environment. The final Agreement does not cover all of the aspects about which life sciences companies have been concerned, and there are areas that will likely be the subject of further discussion during the implementation of the Agreement. However, many view the Agreement as being an important first step in the UK’s continuing relationship with the EU. We set out below a summary of the key aspects of the Agreement relevant to life sciences companies.

Continue Reading The EU-UK Agreement and the implications for life sciences companies

As part of its vision to build a European Health Union, the European Commission announced the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe (the new Strategy) on 25 November 2020. The new Strategy introduces new policies and ideas but also brings into the spotlight long standing challenges which were recently exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak. The new Strategy puts forward numerous proposals for legislative reforms that are likely to affect the regulation of the entire life cycle of a medicinal product. Some of these revisions also affect the regulation of medical devices. The main elements of the new Strategy relate to innovation, availability, accessibility, affordability, and supply in relation to medicinal products.

In this post, we focus on the key proposed regulatory changes expected to impact the pharmaceutical industry. The post also discusses the implications of the new Strategy from the EU competition law perspective.


Continue Reading European Commission proposes a new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe

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

Earlier this month, we commented on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation accelerating existing procedures for clinical trials where medicinal products containing or consisting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are tested for the development of vaccines and therapies to treat COVID-19. The European Commission had proposed that, during the pandemic and by derogation to the GMO regulatory framework, the requirement of a prior environmental risk assessment or consent by the national competent authorities should not apply.
Continue Reading Update: Regulation for COVID-19 clinical trials conducted with medicinal products containing or consisting of GMOs has now been adopted

As part of the strategy to fight COVID-19, the European Commission has proposed a Regulation to facilitate the conduct of clinical trials using medicinal products containing or consisting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The European Commission recognises that the applicable regulatory framework in relation to GMOs is unable to adequately address the challenges created by the pandemic. While some vaccines in development contain attenuated viruses or live vectors, which may fall within the definition of a GMO, there is uncertainty on the interactions between the GMO regulatory framework and the legislation on clinical trials and medicinal products. This is further aggravated by the absence of a common approach by the EU Member States.
Continue Reading The European Commission proposes a Regulation for COVID-19 clinical trials conducted with medicinal products containing or consisting of GMOs

Although the date of application of the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) has been delayed by a year, to May 2021, the EU institutions continue to work on its implementation to ensure that the new framework is workable in time for the revised deadline.

In this post, which is part of our series of blog posts covering the implementation of the MDR, we set out a summary of key recent developments. As indicated below, as well as our previous posts, there are several important steps that still need to be taken with regard to MDR implementation. Similarly, many companies are still working on their own compliance. While industry undoubtedly faces a range of challenges in the context of the ongoing health crisis, and the delay provides some welcome breathing room for many, it will nevertheless be important to continue to progress MDR preparedness so that supply is not disrupted.
Continue Reading EU Medical Devices Regulation: implementation progress during the pandemic

Earlier this month, the European Commission and representatives of the EU Member States discussed potential revisions to the European Commission’s Note on handling of duplicate marketing authorisation applications (the 2011 Note). According to the information published by the Commission, the discussion took place on 7 November 2019 during the latest Pharmaceutical Committee meeting. The discussion was intended to be focussed on duplicate marketing authorisations for biological medicinal products and the outcome of the related public consultation that took place in 2018.

Background

As we set out in our previous blog, the 2011 Note provides guidance on how the European Commission handles requests for duplicate marketing authorisations submitted through the centralised marketing authorisation procedure in accordance with Article 82.1 of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 which was motivated by concerns that several MA’s granted for the same product could lead to partitioning of the market. As a general principle, the Regulation contemplates the existence of duplicate marketing authorisations only in two situations; first, where co-marketing with an independent company is envisaged and secondly “where there are objective verifiable reasons relating to public health regarding the availability of medicinal products to health-care professionals and/or patients”. In this latter case the Commission has required the applicant to demonstrate that the grant of a duplicate marketing authorisation will result in improved availability of the medicinal product in the EU. The 2011 Note states that, in principle, the grant on “public health” grounds of a duplicate marketing authorisation for a “first generic” granted to an originator (known as an “authorised generic” in the USA) is possible because of its potentially positive impact on the availability of the medicinal product.


Continue Reading Update on EU Duplicate Marketing Authorisations