Last week, Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, published his Spring Budget for the UK. It identified life sciences and digital technologies as “high growth sectors,” which the UK Government wishes to prioritize. Among other things, the Budget outlined the Government’s plans to simplify medicines and technology approvals, plus changes to the regulation
The “Agile” Path to Market: An Alternative Approach to Food Industry R&D
Software development can teach us a lot about streamlining the research and development (R&D) process in other industries. “Agile development”, or the process of dividing up an R&D project into smaller, more iterative segments instead of planning the entire project at its inception, is a hallmark of the software development process. In a recently published…
The Potential Benefits of Digital Health Technology in Managing COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis is demonstrating the potential of digital health technology to manage some of our greatest public health challenges. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has issued a call to action for technology companies to help the science community answer high-priority scientific questions related to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control…
European Commission Presents Strategies for Data and AI (Part 1 of 4)
On 19 February 2020, the European Commission presented its long-awaited strategies for data and AI. These follow Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s commitment upon taking office to put forward legislative proposals for a “coordinated European approach to the human and ethical implications of AI” within the new Commission’s first 100 days. Although the papers published this week do not set out a comprehensive EU legal framework for AI, they do give a clear indication of the Commission’s key priorities and anticipated next steps.
The Commission strategies are set out in four separate papers—two on AI, and one each on Europe’s digital future and the data economy. Read together, it is clear that the Commission seeks to position the EU as a digital leader, both in terms of trustworthy AI and the wider data economy.…
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European Parliament Endorses Digital Health Resolution
On December 12, 2019, the European Parliament endorsed a non-binding resolution on enabling the digital transformation of health and care. The resolution calls on the European Commission to take a number of actions to foster the development of digital health systems in Europe to improve patient care and support research efforts — particularly those using innovative technologies such as AI.
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FDA Outlines Proposed Framework for Regulating Artificial Intelligence Software
On April 2, 2019, FDA released a discussion paper entitled “Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)” (the “AI Framework”). The AI Framework is the Agency’s first policy document describing a potential regulatory approach for medical devices that use artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning (“ML”). The AI Framework does not establish new requirements or an official policy, but rather was released by FDA to seek early input prior to the development of a draft guidance. FDA acknowledges that the approach “may require additional statutory authority to implement fully.”
In an accompanying press release, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb outlined the need for a “more tailored” regulatory paradigm for algorithms that learn and adapt in the real world. FDA’s medical device regulation scheme was not designed for dynamic machine learning algorithms, as the Agency traditionally encounters products that are static at the time of FDA review. The AI Framework is FDA’s attempt to develop “an appropriate framework that allows the software to evolve in ways to improve its performance while ensuring that changes meet [FDA’s] gold standard for safety and effectiveness throughout the product’s lifecycle.”…
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ICO opens beta phase of privacy “regulatory sandbox”
On 29 March 2019, the ICO opened the beta phase of the “regulatory sandbox” scheme (the “Sandbox”), which is a new service designed to support organizations that are developing innovative and beneficial projects that use personal data. The application process for participating in the Sandbox is now open, and applications must be submitted to the…
Are Wearables Medical Devices Requiring a CE-Mark in the EU?
Wearable watches that help consumers obtain a better understanding of their eating patterns; wearable clothes that send signals to treating physicians; smart watches: they are but a few examples of the increasingly available and increasingly sophisticated “wearables” on the EU market. These technologies are an integrated part of many people’s lives, and in some cases allow healthcare professionals to follow-up on the condition or habits of their patients, often in real-time. How do manufacturers determine what wearables qualify as medical devices? How do they assess whether their devices need a CE-mark? Must they differentiate between the actual “wearable” and the hardware or software that accompanies them? In this short contribution, we briefly analyze some of these questions. The article first examines what “wearables” are, and when they qualify as a medical device under current and future EU rules. It then addresses the relevance of the applicability of EU medical devices rules to these products. The application of these rules is often complex and highly fact-specific.
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Key Takeaways from FDA’s Framework for Real-World Evidence for Pharmaceuticals
On December 7, FDA published the much-anticipated “Framework for FDA’s Real-World Evidence Program” for drugs and biological products (the “Framework”). In a statement announcing the Framework, Commissioner Gottlieb recognized the opportunities and challenges of using real-world data (“RWD”) and real-world evidence (“RWE”) to enhance regulatory decision-making and noted that leveraging this information is “a top strategic priority for the FDA.” FDA opened a docket for public comments on the Framework through February 5, 2019.
The Framework focuses in particular on the use of RWE to support regulatory decisions about effectiveness. The agency outlines three considerations that will guide its overall RWE Program and inform the agency’s assessment of individual drug applications. The Framework also offers background on the agency’s previous use and current initiatives with respect to RWE and related topics, such as innovative clinical trial designs. This blog post provides an overview of FDA’s proposal and highlights a few initial takeaways noted by Covington’s Digital Health team.…
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IoT Update: The UK Government’s Response to Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation Consultation
On 20 November 2018, the UK government published its response (the “Response”) to the June 2018 consultation (the “Consultation”) regarding the proposed new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (“DEI”). First announced in the UK Chancellor’s Autumn 2017 Budget, the DEI will identify measures needed to strengthen the way data and AI are used and regulated, advising on addressing potential gaps in regulation and outlining best practices in the area. The DEI is described as being the first of its kind globally, and represents an opportunity for the UK to take the lead the debate on how data is regulated.
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