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Sarah Cowlishaw’s practice focuses on life sciences regulatory and commercial law for pharmaceutical, medical device, food, and consumer products. Her advice on general regulatory matters includes borderline determinations, food classifications, adverse event and other reporting obligations, manufacturing controls, and labeling and promotion. Ms. Cowlishaw also advises on regulatory aspects of corporate/commercial deals, particularly regulatory due diligence.

On 25 November 2013, the European Commission published an Implementing Decision containing guidelines to assist responsible persons comply with their regulatory obligations under the EU Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 (Cosmetics Regulation).  The guidelines provide clarity on Annex I of the Cosmetics Regulation, which sets out the minimum requirements for cosmetic product safety reports.  The Implementing Decision will enter into force in mid-December 2013.

Under the Cosmetics Regulation, cosmetic products placed on the EU market must be safe for human health when used under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, taking into account, among other things, the product’s presentation and labelling.  A legal or natural person designated within the EU as the “responsible person” must ensure that each cosmetic product placed on the EU market has a cosmetic product safety report drawn up in accordance with the requirements of Annex I of the Cosmetics Regulation.  This safety report forms part of the product’s information file, which the responsible person must keep for a period of 10 years following the placing on the market of the last batch of product.


Continue Reading EU Guidelines on Cosmetic Product Safety Reports

On May 30, 2013, Advocate General Sharpston delivered an opinion on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Finnish national courts concerning the laws governing reclassification of medical devices (Advocate General: Opinion, Case C-109/12).  The Advocate General’s opinion does not bind the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).  However, in the majority of cases the Court follows the Advocate General.

National courts use the preliminary ruling procedure if they are in doubt about the interpretation or validity of an EU law. In such cases, they may ask the CJEU for advice. The Advocate Generals provide the CJEU with public and impartial opinions to assist the Court in its decision making. The Advocate Generals’ opinions are advisory and non-binding, but they are nonetheless influential.

The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court sought a preliminary ruling on three questions.  In brief:

  1. Can one Member State classify a product as a medicinal product while another Member State classifies it as a medical device?
  2. What is the process for reclassifying a medical device as a medicine?  Is it sufficient to follow the procedures set out in Directive 2001/83/EC (the Medicinal Products Directive)?  Or is it necessary, prior to initiating procedures under the Medicinal Products Directive, for the competent authorities to follow the applicable provisions of Directive 93/42/EEC (the Medical Devices Directive), particularly Articles 8 and 18?
  3. Can a product with the same active substance and mode of action be on the market in one Member State as both a medicine and a medical device?


Continue Reading Advocate General Opinion on Reclassification of Medical Devices

Article originally published in European Pharmaceutical Contractor, September  2012

Although at first sight the rules that govern the distinction between medical devices and medicines in the EU allow for a direct and systematic approach, borderline determinations are, in practice, often difficult and the rules lack logical rigour

The European Commission is expected to publish proposals