This article was originally posted on our sister blog Global Policy Watch

Introduction

Health technology assessment (“HTA”) is a multidisciplinary assessment process that seeks to evaluate the added therapeutic value of health technologies (i.e., drugs, certain medical devices, medical treatments including surgical procedures, and measures for disease prevention and diagnosis) based on both clinical and non-clinical elements.  Until now, HTA has strictly fallen in the purview of EU Member States; they have cooperated among themselves in this field for more than 20 years on a purely voluntary basis.  This has led to initiatives such as EUnetHTA, which is a network of national HTA bodies, and its various Joint Actions.  Article 15 of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive (Directive 2011/24) also provides for that national bodies responsible for HTA should cooperate on a voluntary basis.  Gradually, these various actions have developed common criteria for the performance of HTA at national level.  For example, the last “Joint Action 3” of EUnetHTA seeks to define common assessment methodologies, develop common ICT tools, and conduct and produce joint clinical assessments and HTA reports.

EU Member States have acknowledged the significant role that HTA plays and called on the European Commission to continue to support such initiatives (see, e.g.Council conclusions of December 6, 2014, on innovation for the benefit of patients).  However, in a resolution of March 2, 2017, the European Parliament went a step further and called on the Commission to propose legislation on health technology assessment at the EU level to provide transparent and harmonized criteria to evaluate the added therapeutic value of drugs and other health technologies.
Continue Reading The Commission’s Proposal on Health Technology Assessment – Will the EU Member States Accept its Mandatory Provisions?

The “Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity” is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. It entered into force on 12 October 2014.

The Nagoya Protocol imposes a complex set of multi-jurisdictional compliance obligations on businesses active in the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and other life science sectors. It now has more than 100 contracting parties, including the EU. The key legal source in the EU is Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014 on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization in the Union.
Continue Reading German government has started enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol and reviews compliance of pharmaceutical companies

By Dr. Dr. Adem Koyuncu, Covington & Burling LLP

In the EU, drug companies are not allowed to publicly promote prescription-only medicines. As courts also apply a broad interpretation of the term “promotional”, nearly all public statements that mention a prescription drug are likely to be qualified as illegal advertising. In certain circumstances, this may be the case even if no drug is mentioned.

But what should a drug company do if false statements about its product are distributed? What is allowed in case of a so-called shitstorm? What can the company do to counter negative public statements about its drugs by HTA bodies or other institutions of the healthcare system?

Continue Reading German court allows pharma company public promotional statements about Rx-drug to counter a “shitstorm” – a trend also for the rest of the EU?


A more detailed analysis of the impact of the work at the CJEU is featured in Clinica Medtech Intelligence.


Liability Spotlight now on the Notified Bodies

Background and Context

The so-called PIP-Breast-implant scandal now reaches the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). As last week a German court referred a liability case to the CJEU, it is now upon the CJEU to provide further clarity on the responsibilities and liability scheme for medical devices in the EU. The key questions relate to the responsibility of the Notified Bodies which are in charge of granting the CE mark which again is required to place medical devices on the EU market. The CJEU’s answer will have an impact on the work of Notified Bodies and will be relevant for the liability of medical device manufacturers in the EU.

In the current case, the plaintiff has sued the German Notified Body TÜV Rheinland for damages as she had been implanted a PIP breast implant. PIP stands for the company name Poly Implant Prothèse which, for years, was illegally selling breast implants containing industrial silicone instead of the medical silicone for which they had received the CE mark. The founder of PIP and several former executives and managers were convicted of fraud and sentenced to jail by a court in France.
Continue Reading European Court to Clarify Responsibilities and Liability for Medical Devices

The European Commission (the Commission) confirmed on 27 March 2015 that a German scheme exempting pharmaceutical companies from mandatory rebates is in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission concluded that the scheme facilitated price freezes on certain medicines, which in turn allows the costs of the public health system to be kept under control.

Council Directive 89/105/EEC allows Member States to introduce price freezes on pharmaceutical products. Article 4(2) of the Directive states that derogations from price freezes can be justified for “particular reasons”. Based on these provisions, Germany introduced a mandatory manufacturer’s rebate of 16% on certain prescription medicines sold to public sickness funds and private health insurers between 1 August 2010 and 31 December 2013. Also, under the Article 4(2) exemption, Germany set up a system of derogations for companies whose financial viability would be threatened by the rebate.
Continue Reading German Exemptions from Mandatory Rebates for Pharma Companies Are in Line with EU State Aid Rules