Editor's Note

Posted on 18 December 2019

Editor's Note

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter edition of Inside Life Sciences.

I am delighted to introduce an edition that contains articles on a wide range of subjects relating to the Life Sciences industry: In Shanks v Unilever, we have a rare case on compensation for employee inventors relating to a device for monitoring blood glucose levels. The decision has added significance as it emanates from the Supreme Court, with Lord Kitchin providing clear guidance on the meaning of 'outstanding benefit'. Such cases will continue to be unusual, but it is now clear that the sheer size of the employer organisation – 'too big to pay' – is not the catch-all defence that some may have thought.

In the drug development field, I commend the article on the disparity between the US Privacy Shield regime and the EU GDPR on the treatment of health data generated in the course of research, and specifically clinical trials. The position is further complicated by a lack of consistency across EU countries on how they apply GDPR to personal health data generated by clinical trials.

And finally, just recently in November, it was announced by NICE that the cannabis derived medicine EPIDYOLEX, a treatment for certain drug-resistant types of epilepsy, has been approved for use by the NHS. Further, SATIVEX, a treatment for spasticity in multiple sclerosis, has received a qualified approval by NICE. While this is undoubtedly an encouraging development, it does not address the continuing situation of consumers purchasing cannabidiol, or CBD products which have little or no provenance as to their composition or quality of manufacture. The article on the retail boom of CBD products is a useful summary of the current position and refers to the recent announcement by the Food Standards Agency of a clampdown on food and drink products containing CBD. This is undoubtedly a positive step, but the sale of CBD oils and tinctures remains largely unregulated and unpoliced, which is hardly satisfactory.

Please all have a great Christmas and our best wishes for the New Year.

Martyn Hann

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