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Challenges and Opportunities in MedTech, Innovation and Digital Health

A recent McDermott roundtable on European health private equity generated key insights into the future of medtech, digital health, and data analytics, and identified opportunities for companies and investors.

Digital health solutions are widely considered to be the next big growth market. Healthcare lags significantly behind other industries when it comes to digitization, but the potential opportunities are driving developers, healthcare providers, and investors to find solutions.

A key point to bear in mind about healthcare technology is that success and adoption may often be measured by the quality of the users’ experience, the resulting clinical outcomes, short and long term cost savings, and the resulting margin for both investors and the health care system at large. These multi-faceted goals are best illustrated by the demands for i) greater efficiency, and ii) better patient outcomes.

Efficiency is typified by, for example, streamlined bookings and appointment reminders, algorithms that triage patients to ensure they are seen by the right person at the right time, and in-home patient monitoring after patients are discharged. Patient take-up is also an excellent gauge of efficiency, for example, a high tech product that measures and reports blood sugar is of no value if the interface is too complicated for an older population.

Better outcomes result from clinicians gathering and using data to determine the right treatment in the fastest possible time, and are demonstrated, for example, by permanent lifestyle changes, improvements in self-care or care outside hospital,accurate drug dosage and use of medicines, and, in direct contrast with other sectors, reduced, rather than increased, service usage.

One of the most obvious challenges inherent in digital health is data privacy and security. Stemming from that are issues relating to control of the data, the right to use it, and ownership of the analysis. The most successful companies are those that, from the very beginning, understand the regulatory landscape in which they are operating; are transparent in terms of where their data comes from; make clear the type of data at issue, be that identifiable, pseudonymized, anonymized, or something in between; and identify who will control what data in what form. The ability to marry up these factors is a key part of any new entrant’s value proposition.


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Consumer Privacy Rights – Germany To Enable Consumer Protection Organisations To Bring Actions For Privacy Violations

The German federal government has recently approved a bill that might substantially change the way consumer privacy rights are enforced throughout the country.

The bill aims to give consumer protection and similar organizations standing to bring an action for injunctive relief against commercial suppliers of goods or services that unlawfully collect or process personal consumer data for certain purposes such as advertisement, market or opinion research, and personality or user profiling.

Even though these uses entail a high risk of privacy violations, consumers frequently refrain from enforcing their related rights as they are unaware of the unlawful practice or deterred by the prospective costs of litigation or the market power of the suppliers. The bill is intended to alleviate this deficit by allowing public interest organizations to invoke privacy rights on behalf of consumers as a whole.

The German position is in-line with general considerations by the European Union to provide for legal mechanisms of collective redress where limited individual damage prevents potential claimants from pursuing an individual claim. At least to some extent, this is also reflected in the most recent draft version of the General Data Protection Regulation currently being debated by the European Commission, Parliament and Council.

In the past, similar collective redress systems have been instituted very successfully in Germany regarding consumer rights in other areas including, for example, the sale of consumer goods and general terms and conditions. If the concept can effectively be transferred to consumer privacy, suppliers of consumer goods and services will have to expect much closer scrutiny of their privacy practices in the future.

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