Corporate, Commercial & Regulatory

Impressive depth of specialised experience

Van Bael & Bellis advises multinational clients on corporate, commercial and regulatory issues in the EU and Belgium.

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  • "The lawyers are excellent; very responsive and to the point."

    Chambers Europe

Latest news

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    • 01/07/2020
    • News

    Suspension of the notice period during temporary unemployment due to Covid-19 force majeure

    On 22 June 2020, the law aiming to suspend notice periods notified by the employer before or during temporary unemployment due to Covid-19 force majeure (Wet tot opschorting van de opzeggingstermijn voor ontslagen gegeven voor of tijdens de periode van tijdelijke schorsing van de uitvoering van de arbeidsovereenkomst omwille van overmacht ingevolge de COVID-19-crisis / Loi visant à suspendre les délais de préavis des congés donnés avant ou durant la période de suspension temporaire de l’exécution du contrat de travail pour cause de force majeure en raison de la crise du COVID-19) was published in the Belgian Official Journal (the Law).

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    • 26/06/2020
    • News

    Novartis Settles Bribery Charges under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Relation to Medicine-Related Conduct in Greece

    Novartis AG, its subsidiary Novartis Hellas S.A.C.I., and its former subsidiary Alcon Pte Ltd (together Novartis) have agreed to pay total fines in excess of US $ 345 million to settle cases started by the US Department of Justice (the DOJ) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (see, attached press releases of 25 June 2020). A significant part of the practices alleged to be in violation of the FCPA took place in Greece. Novartis was under investigation because it had made illicit payments to employees of state-owned or state-controlled health institutions in Greece and had also mischaracterised and falsely recorded these payments in its company books and accounts. For the US agencies, these payments amounted to bribery and their false characterisation as an attempt to cover up a crime. The case serves as a reminder that conduct in Europe engaged in by a European firm and possibly in violation of European pharmaceutical and anti-bribery rules may also give rise to extensive exposure under US anti-corruption laws. Novartis admitted that, between 2012 and 2015, it bribed healthcare professionals in Greece in an attempt to increase the sale of Novartis-branded pharmaceutical products. Specifically, Novartis allowed healthcare professionals to travel overseas to medical congresses, including events held in the United States, in exchange for an assurance that these healthcare professionals would augment the number of prescriptions for Lucentis, a prescription-only ophthalmological medicine. Novartis also admitted that, between 2009 and 2010, it made improper payments to healthcare professionals in connection with an epidemiological study that was intended to increase sales of Novartis-branded prescription medicines. Novartis staff recognised that many participating healthcare professionals understood that they were being paid in exchange for writing prescriptions of Novartis products and not for supplying data as part of a clinical study.

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Recommendations

  • The quality of the advice is great - we have been asking some complex questions and they have given clear and to-the-point advice and have been very proactive in providing alternative solutions.

    Chambers Europe
  • Van Bael & Bellis has ‘impressive knowledge of dispute resolution, including mediation’. The firm is notable for its strong regulatory and administrative law contentious practice as well as its impressive life sciences sector presence.

    Legal 500
  • They patiently try to understand the mentality of people in different cultures and pay full respect to that. This attitude is rare in a highly expert world. We are fully satisfied with their practice and the results therefrom.

    IFLR1000
  • They are very responsive, and experienced in pharma and compliance-related matters. They always indicate the timelines of the work they do and keep the client informed on the status of the work.

    Chambers Europe

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Van Bael & Bellis is well known for its client-centred approach, commitment to excellence, exceptional client service and personalised attention.

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Recent publications

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    • 06/08/2020
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2020, No. 7

    The July 2020 issue of our newsletter, VBB on Competition Law, which covers major developments in competition law at both the European Union and Member State levels.

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    • 31/07/2020
    • Articles

    British Medical Journal Publishes Critical Review of Orphan Medicines Rules Ahead of Release of European Commission's Own Studies

    As part of the preparatory work for its Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe which is due in the fourth quarter of 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) is expected to publish shortly an external study and own work assessing the regulatory framework governing orphan medicines and the paediatric rules.

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    • 28/07/2020
    • Articles

    US President Signs Executive Order Implementing International Pricing Index Model

    On 24 July 2020 the US President signed four executive orders designed to lower medicine prices in the United States (see, attached press release). One of these orders, which has not yet been made publicly available, implements a form of international reference pricing and “take[s] action to ensure that the Medicare program and seniors pay no more for [a series of costly medicines] than any economically comparable OECD country, ending foreign countries’ free loading off the backs of American taxpayers and pharmaceutical investments” (the “International Pricing Index Model” or “IPI Model”).

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