Cannabis-containing finished medicinal products have been available on prescription in Germany for some time. In 2017 the amendment of various acts permitted the state-controlled cultivation of cannabis and allowed the production of cannabis-containing medicinal products in pharmacies. This article provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to cannabis products – especially cannabis-containing medicinal products – and the current discussions and developments relating thereto.
According to Section 24(1) of the German Patent Act, a compulsory licence can be granted to a patent infringer. Recent case law suggests that this possibility is becoming increasingly relevant. Further, in a recent originator-originator pharma case, the enforcement of a recall obligation was for the first time suspended for a certain period for public health reasons.
Two recent Federal Civil Court decisions strengthen the strict understanding of Section 7(1.1) of the Act on the Advertising of Medicinal Products, under which the granting of gifts constitutes a violation of German pricing regulations. These decisions also reiterate that the unequal treatment of national pharmacies is justified due to the particularities of the German pharmacy market and the minor impact that this has on German pharmacies.
To safeguard against potential liability claims under the EU Product Liability Directive, the EU Medical Device Regulation stipulates that medical device manufacturers must have measures in place to provide sufficient financial coverage. However, as medical software can hardly be considered a 'product' under the German Act on Product Liability and the EU Product Liability Directive, it is conceivable that no liability applies under the respective provisions and, therefore, there is no need for financial coverage.
The EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) was introduced in May 2017 and sets out the legal framework for medical devices in Germany. However, the MDR provides no definition of 'medical software' and limited rules on liability. Medical software liability under the existing regulatory framework requires that medical software be classified as a product; however, this classification is highly controversial and has been widely debated.