Regulation (EU) 2019/933 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products entered into force on 1 July 2019. The regulation introduced a “manufacturing waiver” excluding certain acts by drug manufacturers in the EU from the protection awarded under supplementary protection certificates.
For many years, drug distribution has been a strictly regulated business. Entities participating in the trade are licensed, the direction of permitted sales is strictly defined, and the market is subject to control by the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of the “reverse drug distribution chain” still exists. Does the “anti-export” amendment of the Pharmaceutical Law have a chance of eliminating irregularities without paralysing legal trade?
On 6 June 2019, another amendment to the Pharmaceutical Law came into force. Its aim is to reduce the occurrence of non-availability of medicines. According to the authors of the changes, only more severe penalties and broader penalisation can limit the undesirable occurrence of the reverse distribution chain. However, the first comments on these changes show that the threat of penalties alone may not be enough to achieve this goal. It has been known for some time now that the inevitability of punishment is an indicator of the effectiveness of criminal policy.
There have been few transactions on the pharmacy market in Poland since 25 June 2017, when the amendment to the Pharmaceutical Law popularly known as “Pharmacies for Pharmacists” entered into force. The transactions that did occur carried significant regulatory risk. This situation may change due to a recent interpretation by the Ministry of Health. Will we witness a gradual departure from the restrictive limitations under the 2017 amendment?
In a judgment of 21 March 2019 (C-443/17) the CJEU reiterated the need for a precise and concise interpretation of the term “protected product” under Regulation (EC) 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products. The CJEU stressed that this term only applies to an active ingredient of a medicinal product, and not combination with other substances that do not have an independent therapeutic effect.
“GMO-free” offers a strong and appealing marketing message. The use of this claim is not regulated at the EU level. Individual member states, including Poland, are adopting national criteria that must be met by products for the manufacturer to call them GMO-free. What are these criteria, and what products do they apply to?