Data-driven technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and other complex algorithms, have the potential to enhance patient care and catalyse medical breakthroughs. However, these technologies are heavily reliant on data, which poses challenges in ensuring that patient information is handled in a safe, secure and legally compliant way.

In response to early issues with the deployment of artificial intelligence and other algorithmic tools in healthcare, on 5 September 2018 the UK Department of Health & Social Care (DH) published an Initial Code of Conduct for Developers and Suppliers of Data-driven Health and Care Technology (the Code). The Code is not legally binding but aims to raise standards by establishing best practices.


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The next Future Pharma Forum will be on 27 September: Implications of Recent EU and UK Court Decisions in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Emily MacKenzie, Barrister at Brick Court Chambers, will join us to recap on how challenges to pharmaceutical decisions may be brought to the European and domestic courts. Emily will provide a summary

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.

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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.


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In July, we reported that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had announced a joint proposal to promote the use of innovative approaches to paediatric drug development. We noted that the EMA expected to publish a Reflection Paper setting out a systematic approach to extrapolation of paediatric data by the end of the year. This has now been published.

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Last month, the UK MHRA published new guidance on human factors and usability engineering for medical devices to be taken into account when designing medical devices in accordance with the regulatory framework. ‘Human factors’ refer to how a person interacts with a product, and will depend on, among other things, the design of the product, the education and training of the intended user population, the environment in which they will be using the product, competing distractions, usability and ergonomics.

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On 26 May 2017, the new EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) and In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR) entered into force. In order to aid preparations for the provisions taking effect, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published materials to help manufacturers understand the new requirements, and in particular, has published an introductory Interactive Guide to the Regulations. The MHRA’s director of Medical Devices, John Wilkinson, explained that “We live in an increasingly digital world, and the way we provide our guidance is changing. We want to help manufacturers to comply with the new regulations as easily and as early as possible.”

The Interactive Guide allows users to navigate through key topics and provides a high level overview of the Regulations for manufacturers who may be looking at them for the first time, and also seeks to help experienced manufacturers navigate the changes. A brief summary of the key points is set out below.


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On 20 July 2017, the EMA published the updated guideline on first-in-man (also known as phase I) clinical trials. First-in-man trials often carry the greatest risks, and have been the ones that generate the biggest headlines when they have gone wrong, for example the Phase I trial in France by Bial-Portela & CA SA in 2016. The new guideline, which applies not only to first-in-man trials, but also to all ‘early phase clinical trials’ that generate initial knowledge on tolerability, safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, aims to ensure such trials are conducted as safely as possible, and assists sponsors in the transition from non-clinical to early clinical development.

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Under the new Clinical Trials Regulation 536/2014/EU, it is now a requirement for the sponsor of a clinical trial to report to the regulatory authorities a serious breach of the Regulation or to the clinical trial protocol (Article 52). A serious breach, in this context, is defined as “a breach likely to affect to a significant degree the safety and rights of a subject or the reliability and robustness of the data generated in the clinical trial“. This requirement is currently contained in the legislation of some Member States, such as in the UK (Regulation 29A Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004/1031), but was not previously included in Directive 2001/20/EC or in ICH GCP (although a sponsor should list all significant protocol non-compliances in the clinical study report). This is, therefore, the first time that there is such a requirement in all EU countries.

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We have previously reported on the European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) increased focus on the area of personalised medicines. The original blog post can be found here.

The EMA and the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has now released for consultation a concept paper on predictive biomarker-based assay development in the context of drug development and lifecycle. The use of predictive biomarkers is an aspect of personalised medicine used to decide treatment or dose selection.


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