Healthcare & Life Sciences updates

Austria

Contributed by Preslmayr Attorneys at Law
'Medical meets Beauty' – recent decision on dental sector advertising
  • Austria
  • 27 November 2019

The Austrian professional rules for dentists are strict and restrictive and permit advertising only within tight limits. Recent case law suggests that the Chamber of Dentists is highly active in enforcing both the Directive on Advertising and the Dental Act. Under the directive, print media ads must not exceed quarter of a page and dentists must not use unobjective advertising (eg, ads which promise patients non-dental advantages or services).

Alternative medical treatments and compassionate use
  • Austria
  • 25 September 2019

Patients who are beyond treatment under the standards of conventional medicine often seek help from alternative medical treatments; however, these methods pose not only medical risks for patients, but also legal risks for doctors. A recent Supreme Administrative Court decision appears to favour a liberal approach to new therapies and compassionate use and enhances the possibilities for developing new therapies and alternative medicines in future.

Maintaining original medicinal products in Reimbursement Code
  • Austria
  • 24 July 2019

When a generic is added to the Reimbursement Code, the product manufacturer or authorised distributor must reduce its price in order for the product to remain therein. If the Main Association of Social Security Institutions and the product manufacturer or authorised distributor cannot agree on a price, the product will be removed from the Reimbursement Code. A recent Supreme Court decision provides important considerations for maintaining original medicinal products in the Reimbursement Code.

Cannabidiol in food and cosmetics
  • Austria
  • 15 May 2019

While there are signs of greater liberalisation with respect to hemp use internationally, the Austrian government has resisted this trend. In October 2018 the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection published a decree outlining its legal opinion on product regulations which prohibit CBD use in food and cosmetics. However, rather than providing legal certainty, the decree merely reflects headlines relating to the government's narcotics programme.

Social security system to undergo restructure – but will it achieve cost savings?
  • Austria
  • 20 March 2019

The Austrian social security system has been characterised by regional and occupational fragmentation and the domination of employee representatives. However, a recent amendment to the Social Security Act proposes merging the provincial social security institutions with the company insurers into one Austrian Health Insurer, which will be the only provider of employee health insurance.


Belgium

Contributed by ALTIUS
Incentives and public procurement in the healthcare sector: be careful what you wish for
  • Belgium
  • 23 October 2019

The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products recently issued a circular letter reminding the different actors in the Belgian healthcare sector that incentives in the course of public procurement procedures should be considered carefully. Further, the circular letter underlined the risk of contravening the ban on receiving gifts, monetary advantages or benefits and public procurement rules.

Anti-tampering devices – fading boundaries of parallel trade?
  • Belgium
  • 06 February 2019

A legislative package aimed at fighting falsified medicines will enter into force in the European Union in early 2019. This EU legal framework was transposed into Belgian law through the Medicines Act and the Royal Decree concerning Medicines for Human and Veterinary Use. As a result, pharmaceutical companies will be required to affix a so-called 'anti-tampering device' on all prescription medicinal products to allow verification of whether the packaging has been tampered with.

Invalidated SPC retains prima facie validity in preliminary injunction proceedings
  • Belgium
  • 25 September 2013

A pharmaceutical company requested a preliminary injunction against a generic manufacturer based on one of its invalidated supplementary protection certificates. An appeal court granted the injunction, but the generic manufacturer appealed to the Supreme Court. The court's decision is notable for its distinction between the authority and the force of res judicata, and the implications of this distinction for rights holders.

GMO trial gets green light despite formal invalidity
  • Belgium
  • 08 May 2013

The government has implemented a strict regulatory framework for genetically modified organism field trials. But what happens when one of the players fails to respect the rules? Does it affect the valid work that has already been done by others? These questions recently arose before the Ghent Court of First Instance in the context of expedited civil proceedings initiated by Greenpeace against the Belgian state.

Mock-ups no proper notification of repackaged pharmaceutical parallel imports
  • Belgium
  • 13 February 2013

The Brussels Court of Appeal recently ruled that a parallel importer did not properly notify a pharmaceutical trademark holder when it provided a two-dimensional mock-up of the outer packaging, rather than an actual sample, of the repackaged pharmaceutical as it would be presented on sale. The decision provided much-needed clarity, as the first instance court had issued contradicting decisions on the matter.


Brazil

Health sector transparency laws
  • Brazil
  • 05 September 2018

Since 2016 Minas Gerais has been establishing transparency laws to create a system whereby consumers and society at large will be able to access information regarding incentives and payments between healthcare professionals and the health industry. Under the state laws, the health industry must provide information on the relationships that they maintain with healthcare professionals which may represent a potential conflict of interest.

Post-trial access: Congress discusses new bill for clinical research
  • Brazil
  • 23 May 2018

The importance of clinical research for developing new treatments and discovering cures for diseases is indisputable. However, the degree to which patients benefit from participating in clinical trials and whether they should have post-trial access to experimental treatments are highly disputed, especially in Brazil, where free universal healthcare is a constitutional right. The House of Representatives is discussing clinical research and post-trial access as part of a new legislative bill.

Vaccines and points of care – growing trend
  • Brazil
  • 28 March 2018

One of the most influential moves in the healthcare sector is the recent development of point-of-care solutions. The main goal is to allow patients to get on-demand healthcare outside the hospital, mainly through medical devices and apps. Such technologies are likely to have a significant positive effect in the Brazilian public health system by making diagnostic testing accessible in areas where healthcare is hard to access.


Canada

Contributed by Smart & Biggar
PMPRB releases draft guidelines operationalising amended Patented Medicines Regulations
  • Canada
  • 11 December 2019

The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board recently released new draft guidelines for consultation and a backgrounder. The new guidelines aim to operationalise the amended Patented Medicines Regulations, which come into force on 1 July 2020, and provide a number of circumstances in which categories or price ceilings may be reassessed.

Federal Court issues two interlocutory decisions in Section 8 pregabalin case
  • Canada
  • 27 November 2019

The Federal Court recently issued two decisions relating to Pharmascience's claim for Section 8 damages under the pre-amended Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations for its pregabalin product (Pfizer's Lyrica). In the first, the court granted motion for summary trial on the relevance of Pfizer's ex turpi causa defence; in the second, it overturned the prothonotary's order, which had denied Pfizer leave to amend a pleading.

Amgen not precluded from litigating same patent under amended PMNOC regulations
  • Canada
  • 20 November 2019

The Federal Court of Appeal recently dismissed Pfizer's appeal of its failed motion to dismiss Amgen's action regarding an infringing patent under Section 6 of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) (PMNOC) Regulations. Pfizer argued that Amgen's action ought to be dismissed as an abuse of process on the basis that Amgen had unsuccessfully litigated the same patent under the pre-amended PMNOC Regulations.

Update on biosimilars
  • Canada
  • 20 November 2019

Since June 2018 a number of biosimilar developments – including with regard to approvals, pending submissions, regulatory matters, litigation and market access – have taken place in Canada. For example, Health Canada recently published an updated Biosimilar Biological Drugs in Canada: Fact Sheet, which provides an overview of the regulatory framework for biosimilar drugs in Canada.

PMPRB news
  • Canada
  • 13 November 2019

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has released its CompassRx 2017/18 Annual Public Drug Plan Expenditure Report and related news release reporting various statistics regarding prescription drug expenditures by Canadian public drug plans. The report indicates that prescription drug expenditure by public plans increased by 7.4% to C$11.4 billion in 2017-18.


Cyprus

General Healthcare System contributions
  • Cyprus
  • 10 April 2019

As of 1 March 2019, employees, pensioners, state officials and income earners in Cyprus must contribute 1.7% of their income to the General Health System, while self-employed individuals must contribute 2.55% of their income. Private employers must also make General Health System contributions of 1.85% on emoluments made to employees, while the state must make an additional contribution of 1.65% of the incomes of employees, self-employed individuals, pensioners and government officials.