On 26 May 2023 the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced it plans to introduce an international reliance route for the approval of medicinal products. This shows the UK is now looking beyond the EU in its approach to recognizing foreign marketing authorizations. The MHRA is “focused on providing
EU Pharma Legislation Review Series: Decentralized Manufacturing
The EU’s General Pharmaceutical Legislation amendment proposal, which was published on 26 April 2023 (“the Proposal”), is introducing new measures to regulate decentralized manufacturing, which is increasingly used for certain categories of medicinal products. In particular, the Proposal introduces new obligations for manufacturers and for national competent authorities overseeing decentralized sites. In this blog…
EU Pharma Legislation Review Series: Supply Security and Shortages Control
As part of the EU’s General Pharmaceutical Legislation amendment proposal, published on 26 April 2023 (“the Proposal”), the European Commission (“Commission”) has introduced a series of measures aimed at securing the supply of critical medicinal products across the EU and at preventing shortages. In particular, there are new obligations for Marketing Authorization Holders (“MAH”)…
EU Pharma Legislation Review Series: Pharmacy and Hospital Exemptions
The existing EU pharmaceutical legislation provides for a number of specific exemptions from the marketing authorisation requirement, including products supplied on a named patient or compassionate use bases; products compounded and dispensed in pharmacies (magistral and officinal formulations) and also for products necessary to respond to public health emergencies. Given that a key policy goal…
EU Talking Life Sciences Audiocast: Episode 3 – Social Media Challenges for Pharma Companies – Comparing Approaches in Europe and the US
Tune into the third episode of Covington’s Life Sciences Audiocast, where Grant Castle, Stefanie Doebler, and Raj Gathani discuss social media challenges for pharma companies in Europe and the U.S.
UK MHRA to recognize foreign regulatory approvals for medicines and medical technologies and promote digital innovation
Last week, Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, published his Spring Budget for the UK. It identified life sciences and digital technologies as “high growth sectors,” which the UK Government wishes to prioritize. Among other things, the Budget outlined the Government’s plans to simplify medicines and technology approvals, plus changes to the regulation…
UK PMCPA Publishes First Ever Guidance to Pharmaceutical Companies about Social Media
On 26 January 2023, the UK’s Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (“PMCPA”) published its “Social Media Guidance 2023” (the “Guidance”).
The Guidance is the first of its kind in the UK and is long-awaited.
The PMCPA is the self-regulatory body that administers and enforces the ABPI Code (the voluntary advertising code that many pharmaceutical companies adhere to in the UK). The ABPI Code sets out a number of overarching principles but does not address social media in detail. The PMCPA had some years ago published “digital guidelines” but these were archived for updating.
The first – and probably most important – thing to say about the Guidance is that it (finally) exists. Social media has become a major compliance headache for UK pharmaceutical companies. These days a significant number of PMCPA complaints, investigations and adjudications concern corporate or employee social media activity, particularly on LinkedIn. The absence of clear and codified guidance until now led to a lack of clarity. Key regulatory principles had evolved through a series of case rulings, which were often highly fact-dependent. While dissecting cases into the early hours may be interesting for us pharmaceutical advertising lawyers, compliance teams will likely appreciate having codified guidelines to refer to.
Secondly, the Guidance is likely to disappoint anyone hoping for seismic shifts in the PMCPA’s regulatory approach. Much of the Guidance aligns closely to rules and principles that had developed in the Authority’s case history. It also broadly aligns with EFPIA’s and IFPMA’s recently published “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Social Media and Digital Media Channels” (see our blog post).…
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Germany significantly tightens Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Laws
The German regulation of pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals is probably one of the most complicated legal areas in the entire world of life sciences laws. Now, the German government is adding another layer of complexity to the existing rules.
On 20 October 2022, the German Parliament has accepted the draft Act for the Financial Stabilization of the German Statutory Health Insurance System („GKV-FinStG“). The new act was subject to month-long controversial discussions within and outside of the Parliament and affected stakeholders. This was due to the fact that the new rules will affect almost all players within the healthcare system, including the health insurers, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and, especially, the pharmaceutical industry. The new law encompasses significant cost-containment measures as the German healthcare system faces increased costs while, at the same time, the system suffers from a reduced inflow of funds.…
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IFPMA and EFPIA Publish New Joint Guidance Note on Social Media and Digital Channels
On 28 September 2022, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) published joint guidelines concerning the use of social media and digital media channels by pharmaceutical companies (Joint Digital Guidelines). IFPMA and EFPIA are umbrella trade bodies for the innovative pharmaceutical industry on the global and European stages, respectively.
The Joint Digital Guidelines are timely. Digital communications and the use of social media have become hot compliance topics for the pharmaceutical industry, both in Europe and globally. Actors in the healthcare world increasingly use digital communication channels; many clinicians, patients and patient organizations actually prefer to receive content digitally. With more content comes higher compliance risk. Digital communications, particularly over social media, can spread fast across borders and are often publicly accessible.
It is no surprise that a very significant number of pharmaceutical advertising cases in European markets now concern digital channels or social media. This certainly reflects our experience; and this is an area where our pharmaceutical advertising experts are continually advising clients.…
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New German Government plans significant changes with Impact on the Healthcare, Life Sciences and Food Sector
Following the federal election in September 2021, Germany will soon be led by a new three-party coalition, the so-called “traffic light coalition”, composed of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party (Die Grünen). This new federal government led by the new chancellor Olaf Scholz from the Social Democrats will replace the Merkel administration and will be in office for four years. On November 24, 2021, the new coalition has presented their coalition agreement with their plans for the next 4 years. The agreement needs to be approved by the respective party committees and it is expected that all three parties will approve it.…
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