Life Sciences

The European Parliament and Council are currently negotiating the wording of a new Regulation establishing a Single Market emergency instrument (“SMEI”).  This new measure builds on the experience gained from the COVID-19 crisis and gives new powers to the Commission, in close cooperation with the Member States.  This blog briefly discusses the expected impact on

The Holiday season of 2023 proved to be a busy one for innovative pharmaceutical companies in the UK and their legal and regulatory teams.

UK pharmaceutical companies are already number-crunching through two new price control systems for 2024 (please see our blog and audiocast).  In addition to the UK pricing regime changing, there are proposals to update advertising rules and the procedure for adjudicating upon advertising complaints.   

On 13 December 2023, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (“ABPI”) published proposals to update the 2021 ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry (“ABPI Code”) and the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (“PMCPA”) Constitution and Procedure (which sets out the procedure for adjudicating upon advertising complaints).  Companies have until 29 February 2024 to contribute to the consultation.

Many of the proposed changes to the ABPI Code are clarificatory in nature, but the planned changes to the complaints process may be of particular interest to in-house legal teams.  These changes are designed to make the PMCPA complaints process less formulaic and more flexible.  This could help manage relatively straightforward cases with greater efficiency, whilst also accommodating for cases which involve serious allegations and/or complex facts.  If implemented as proposed, the changes are likely to give PMCPA cases a more judicial or legalistic feel, particularly when it comes to case management.Continue Reading Consultation on Changes to the ABPI Code and UK Advertising Complaints Process

Recently announced changes to the Voluntary Scheme (VPAG) and Statutory Scheme change the paradigm for the pricing of branded medicines in the UK. Innovative pharmaceutical companies doing business in the UK must decide which scheme to join for 2024 – a decision that may significantly affect margins.

Tune into this episode of Covington’s Life Sciences

On 20 November 2023, the UK Government and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (“ABPI”) ‒ the industry body representing the innovative pharmaceutical industry in the UK ‒ announced a new 5-year voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing, access and growth (“VPAG”).

Although the parties have announced agreement upon heads of terms, it is already clear this is very significant news for the pricing and reimbursement of branded medicines in the UK.  It is likely to represent a paradigm-shift in the way the innovative pharmaceutical industry will view reimbursement.Continue Reading VPAG – New 5-Year Pricing Agreement Agreed between UK Government and the UK Pharmaceutical Industry Body (ABPI)

The German government is discussing a new Pharma Strategy with a number of reforms to improve the conditions for the pharmaceutical industry in Germany. Recently, the “Strategy Paper 4.0 – Improving the General Conditions for the Pharmaceutical Sector in Germany” (original title: Strategiepapier 4.0: Verbesserung der Rahmenbedingungen für den Pharmabereich in Deutschland – Handlungskonzepte für den Forschungs- und Produktionsstandort) became public that reportedly has the backing of the German Chancellor and the Federal Health Minister.

This strategy paper presents a range of measures to strengthen, among other things, pharmaceutical research and production in Germany and to improve the market access and pricing environment. These measures would have a significant impact for a multitude of players in the life sciences field. As such, the German government anticipates faster approvals for clinical trials, faster access to innovative medicines, more digitalization, greater supply security, a more investment-friendly environment and reduction of bureaucracy. Currently, and this is widely acknowledged by the government and most stakeholders, there is significant room for improvement in all of these areas.Continue Reading German Government pursues new Pharma Strategy with significant Reform Ideas

Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) are a form of patent term extension right that are available in the EU for medicinal products.

Tune into this episode of Covington’s Life Sciences Audiocast where Inga Pietsch and Roderick Dirkzwager discuss some of the developments in SPC case law from the European Court of Justice in relation to the

On October 19, 2023, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) published a set of regulatory considerations on artificial intelligence (“AI”) for health (press release and full publication).  The publication is not guidance or policy but is intended as a resource for relevant stakeholders in medical devices ecosystems, including manufacturers who design and develop AI-embedded

Roughly a decade ago, countries such as the USA and France introduced ground-breaking transparency and disclosure legislation under so-called “Sunshine Acts.”  Broadly speaking, such legislation made it mandatory for pharmaceutical companies to publish records of payments or other transfers of value made to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare organizations (HCOs).

The UK followed a subtly

On 29 September 2023, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”) published further guidance (“MHRA Guidance”) on changes to labelling and packaging for medicinal products intended for the UK market (including Northern Ireland) under the Windsor Framework (agreed between the UK and the EU on 27 February 2023, please see our client alert here). 

The MHRA Guidance follows the Agency’s announcement of new labelling and packaging measures in June 2023, which will take effect from 1 January 2025.  The new measures require, amongst other things: (i) medicinal products intended for the UK market to be authorized by the MHRA; (ii) a single UK-wide pack that bears a “UK only” label; and (iii) disapplication of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive 2011/62/EU (“EU FMD”) to UK packs (please see our blog post on this announcement here).

The latest MHRA Guidance provides further detail on the above measures.Continue Reading New MHRA Guidance on the Windsor Framework: Detail on Labelling and Packaging Changes