News & Insights

  • 20/03/2018
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis performs exceptionally well in Chambers Europe 2018 with top-tier rankings for its EU competition, international trade and life sciences practices

Van Bael & Bellis has been recognised once again for its exceptional expertise in Chambers Europe 2018, with the following notable results. Three of the firm’s practice areas...

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    • 20/02/2019
    • News

    Fabrizio Di Gianni speaks at workshop on recent definitive safeguards in the steel sector

    On 20 February 2019, Van Bael & Bellis partner Fabrizio Di Gianni spoke on recent definitive safeguard measures in the steel sector at a workshop organized by Assofermet, the Italian national association of companies operating in the steel sector, and held in Milan. Riccardo Benso, President of Assofermet, and Tommaso Sandrini, President of Assofermet Acciai, also participated in the workshop. Further information on the workshop is available by clicking on the pdf below.

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    • 19/02/2019
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2019, No. 01

    The January 2019 issue of our Belgian Business Law newsletter reporting on the latest developments in a range of areas, including competition, data protection, intellectual property and labour law. Please click below to read the issue.

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    • 18/02/2019
    • Articles

    Belgium - Bill regarding Reimbursement of Pharmaceutical Specialties

    On 7 February 2019, the federal government submitted a bill regarding the reimbursement of pharmaceutical specialties to the federal chamber of representatives (Bill 54 3535/001) (the “Bill”). The Bill provides for the following saving measures designed to contain the pharmaceutical budget: • More significant price decrease on the basis of turnover for medicines that have benefited from reimbursement for 15 years (“volume cliff”) (There will be a staggered system providing for a range of turnover figures between EUR 1.5 million and EUR 70 million). • Extension of maximum price (“ceiling price”) system from medicines delivered in the community pharmacy to medicines delivered in the hospital pharmacy. • Start of cheapest prescriptions and prescription quota systems in hospital environment. • Further limitation of invoicing level open to hospitals to 85% of the official price. This system applies to a segment of the medicines open to competition, namely medicines falling under the reference reimbursement system. It is designed to channel to the public purse part of the savings made by hospitals from discounts obtained from their suppliers. • Adaptation of definition of “cheap prescription”. • Medicines in reimbursement category F will now also be made subject to the price cuts applying to “old” medicines (reimbursed for 12 or 15 years). The reimbursement basis of medicines of category F is a flat fee per indication, treatment or analysis. • Definition of specific compensating levy for 2019 (“compenserende heffing”/”cotisation compensatoire”). • Limited increase of pricing transparency for medicines subject to Managed Entry Agreements: Members of the General Council (the top body within the Public Institute for Illness and Disability Insurance) and of the Auditing Court (which verifies and oversees the spending of the government) will be given access to aggregated price information (as a rule on the ATC1 level, i.e., the top level of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System of medicines). The qualifying members will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The government is apparently confident that the Bill will garner a majority in the chamber. The Bill can be found here:

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    • 14/02/2019
    • Articles

    Overview of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive

    This client alert provides an overview of the EU’s forthcoming “Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment”, otherwise known as the single-use plastics Directive. The Directive is expected to enter into force in late spring or early summer 2019 and will have a major impact on the future of the EU plastics market. It is important for both traders and manufacturers to understand how their businesses may be affected as the requirements of the Directive are phased in over the next two to five years.

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    • 13/02/2019
    • News

    Thibaut D’hulst and Darach Connolly quoted by Politico on the recent German Bundeskartellampt decision on Facebook

    Van Bael & Bellis counsel Thibaut D’hulst and associate Darach Connolly were quoted by Politico on the recent Facebook decision by the German competition authority – the Bundeskartellampt – which links data protection and competition law in a novel decision.

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    • 12/02/2019
    • Articles

    European Parliament Raises Issue of Alleged Excessive Pricing of Orphan Medicine

    In a response to two parliamentary questions of 6 February 2019, the member of the European Commission (the “Commission”) responsible for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis announced that the case of chenodeoxycholic acid Leadiant (“CDCA”) will be taken on board in the European Commission’s ongoing assessment of the rules governing orphan medicines. According to the Commissioner, the case is also likely to inform competition investigations of possible excess pricing cases (see attached parliamentary questions and answer). CDCA is indicated for the treatment of patients afflicted with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, a rare metabolic disorder. These patients are unable to produce enough of the primary bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid. When primary bile acids are lacking, the body produces abnormal bile acids and other substances instead which accumulate throughout the body, causing damage. Because the number of patients with this condition is very limited, the disease is considered ‘rare’, and CDCA was designated as an orphan medicine in December 2014. CDCA is also a hybrid medicine in that it is similar to a reference medicine, Xenbilox, with the same active substance. However, Xenbilox differs from CDCA in that it is only authorised to dissolve cholesterol gallstones, an indication in use since the 1970s under the name Chenofalk. Leadiant Biosciences (“LB”), the marketing authorisation holder of CDCA, is accused of having monopolised chenodeoxycholic acid and then acquired the exclusive marketing rights associated with the orphan medicine designation of CDCA. The price for the medicine would have gone up considerably. According to one of the Members of Parliament who raised the issue, LB now charges EUR 140 per pill in specific markets, while the medicine cost 30 eurocents per pill when it was still sold as an anti-gallstone medicine. The accusation of excessive pricing is understood to be under review by the Dutch competition authority. The case raises a range of issues and themes that have recently come to the fore in political discussions across the European Union, including the status of orphan medicines; the tackling of excessive prices under the competition rules (the European Commission has not only started a procedure of its own in another file, but says it also supports various efforts of national competition authorities in that area); and possible cooperation among Member States with regard to medicine pricing and reimbursement, a controversial subject which the Commission stresses belongs to the exclusive competencies of the individual Member States.

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    • 11/02/2019
    • News

    Johan Van Acker nominated by GCR for competition lawyer of the year under 40

    Van Bael & Bellis partner Johan Van Acker has been nominated for a Global Competition Review (GCR) Award in the category of “Competition Lawyer of the Year – Under 40”. Johan Van Acker is one of eight nominees worldwide singled out by GCR as a “competition lawyer under the age of 40 whose superior technical skill, practical judgement and excellence in client service in 2018 demonstrate that he or she is among the very best in the field”. Voting for the GCR awards is now open (for GCR subscribers) until midnight, 22 February 2019 at the following link.

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    • 11/02/2019
    • News

    Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker author chapter on “Merger control in the EU”

    Thomson Reuters have published their Practical Law guide on global merger control law, which features a chapter on “Merger control in the EU” authored by Van Bael & Bellis partners Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker. This chapter answers the critical questions that typically arise in an EU merger control review with respect to the regulatory framework, jurisdictional thresholds, procedures and timetables, substantive test and remedies, amongst others. The chapter can be accessed here. Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker are also the authors of the EU chapter of Merger Control: International Series, now in its third edition, for which Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott serve as General Editors. Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott are also the Contributing Editors of the 2019 Chambers Global Practice Guide for merger control.

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