News & Insights

  • 29/06/2020
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis to open London office

Van Bael & Bellis announces today that it will open a London office on 1 September 2020, subject to SRA approval.  Located at 5 Chancery Lane, the office will be led by senior partner David Hull, managing partner Philippe De Baere and partner Alex Stratakis, who will join from Baker McKenzie’s London office.

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    • 13/07/2020
    • Articles

    Competition Developments in Pharmaceutical Sector - UK Competition and Markets Authority and European Commission

    The pharmaceutical sector continues to draw competition scrutiny across Europe. United Kingdom On 9 June 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded its investigation into the supply of fludrocortisone acetate tablets (FAT), a prescription-only medicine indicated for the treatment of primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency, known as Addison’s Disease (see, attached press release). Aspen Pharma (Aspen) of South-Africa, UK based company Amilco and Dutch firm Tiofarma had apparently agreed that Aspen would be the sole supplier of FAT in the UK. Amilco and Tiofarma were promised financial compensation, while Aspen was given free rein which allegedly allowed it to abuse its monopoly position and increase its prices for FAT by up to 1,800%.

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    • 09/07/2020
    • Articles

    Court of Justice of European Union Is Asked Preliminary Questions on Application of Falsified Medicines

    Attached is a note discussing a German reference for a preliminary ruling seeking clarification from the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the application of the Falsified Medicines Directive to parallel-traded medicines. A judgment is due in 2021.

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    • 07/07/2020
    • Articles

    European Commission Reviews First Two Years of GDPR: A Success Story with Room for Improvement

    On 24 June 2020, the European Commission has published its first report on the General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR) which has applied in the EU since May 2018. Overall, the Commission considers the GDPR to be a success story, but, at the same time, it identifies certain areas where there is room for improvement and the challenges that lie ahead. In particular, the Commission notes that the efficient and coordinated enforcement of the GDPR among all Member States is of paramount importance. Moreover, the application of the GDPR to new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, requires continuous monitoring. According to the Commission, the Covid-19 crisis has proved that the use of new technologies and data protection go hand in hand. Please click below for a note summarising the Commission’s report.

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    • 07/07/2020
    • Articles

    European Medicines Agencies Network Strategy to 2025

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the national competent authorities (NCAs) of the 27 EU Member States in addition to those of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway presented on 6 July 2020 a proposed network strategy for tackling healthcare challenges in a rapidly evolving environment (see, attachment). The strategy is supposed to apply until 2025 and stakeholders are invited to submit their comments in response to an online questionnaire by 4 September 2020.

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    • 06/07/2020
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2020, No. 6

    The June 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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    • 02/07/2020
    • Articles

    Healthcare Priorities of German Presidency of EU Council

    The German government assumed yesterday for the latter part of 2020 the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The policy priorities of that Presidency were spelled out in the attached document entitled “Together for Europe’s recovery”. Not surprisingly, healthcare forms a focal point of these priorities in a number of diverging ways:

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    • 01/07/2020
    • Articles

    European Commission’s White Paper on Levelling the Playing Field as regards Foreign Subsidies

    Key Takeaway: The EU (and Member States) may be given new, far-reaching powers to tackle the perceived harmful effects of third-country subsidies benefitting businesses operating in the EU. Remedies could be imposed limiting participation in all sectors of the internal market, including prohibiting businesses from making subsidised acquisitions and participating in public procurement in the EU. On 17 June 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published a White Paper on how to respond to third countries giving subsidies to companies active in the EU (“foreign subsidies”). In an effort to level the playing field, the Commission proposes new tools to address what it perceives as unfair competition from foreign players in the EU’s internal market. The Commission considers that existing tools, in the areas of notably trade defence, competition law and public procurement, are insufficient to avoid distortions resulting from foreign subsidies. The proposed new tool box fits within the EU’s new policy of “open strategic autonomy”. It signals a more pro-active approach on the part of the EU in responding to unfair and abusive practices distorting the EU internal market and undermining the level playing field.

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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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    • 01/07/2020
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis welcomes Alex Stratakis as a Partner

    Van Bael & Bellis is pleased to announce that Alex Stratakis is joining the firm this week as a Partner. Based in London, and with almost 15 years of experience in all aspects of competition law, Alex will lead the UK Competition practice out of Van Bael & Bellis’ new London office, opening in September (subject to SRA approval). Alex’s practice covers predominantly UK, but also EU, Greek and Cypriot competition law, focusing on complex merger control, distribution, dominance and state aid. He has extensive experience successfully representing clients before the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the European Commission and various (non-UK) national competition authorities across the globe, as well as before European and national courts. He has also advised a number of companies on the implications of the UK’s Foreign Direct Investment Screening Regime. Alex’s practice covers a wide range of sectors, including life sciences (originators and medical device manufacturers), aviation, automotive, energy & mining, industrials, chemicals, luxury goods, telecoms, media, transport and infrastructure. Alex says “I am delighted to be re-joining Van Bael & Bellis as Partner to spearhead the enhancement of the firm’s UK capabilities together with a very gifted and experienced team of solicitors. Van Bael & Bellis’ stellar competition practice and unique market proposition needs no introduction; and I will be relying heavily on my colleagues to succeed together.” Philippe De Baere, managing partner, comments “The forthcoming opening of our London office is an important step in Van Bael & Bellis’ growth as a firm. To make this a success, the quality of our UK team will be essential. I am therefore extremely pleased that Alex decided to join us in this venture. Not only is he a leading UK competition lawyer, he also forms part of the Van Bael & Bellis family, having started his career with us in 2005. I am convinced that this unique combination will make him an effective leader of our new UK Competition practice.“ Alex Stratakis’ arrival means that Van Bael & Bellis’ Competition team now includes 15 partners and 7 counsel.

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