In addition to law and regulation specific to drug development, we note that new data protection regulations that have gone into effect in Europe are likely to have a significant impact on our activities, personnel, and may have an impact on our ability to timely complete clinical trials and effectively develop and commercialize our product candidates. The General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) was approved and adopted by the EU Parliament in April 2016 and went into effect on May 25, 2018. Unlike a Directive, the GDPR does not require any enabling legislation to be passed by any government. The GDPR not only applies to organizations located within the EU but may also apply to organizations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU data subjects or if they process the personal data of subjects residing in the European Union. The implications of this regulation are therefore far reaching and may impose significant burdens on the Company and its processes and systems. Additionally, the UK government has implemented a Data Protection Bill, which also went into effect on May 25, 2018, that substantially implements the GDPR. For other countries outside of the EU, such as countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America or Asia, the requirements governing the conduct of clinical studies, product licensing, coverage, pricing and reimbursement vary from country to country. In all cases, again, the clinical studies are conducted in accordance with cGCP and the applicable regulatory requirements and the ethical principles that have their origin in the Declaration of Helsinki.
If we fail to comply with applicable foreign regulatory requirements, we may be subject to, among other things, fines, suspension or withdrawal of regulatory approvals, product recalls, seizure of products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecution.
Pharmaceutical Coverage, Pricing and Reimbursement
Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval. In the U.S. and markets in other countries, sales of any products for which we receive regulatory approval for commercial sale will depend, in part, on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors. Third-party payors include government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, managed care plans, private health insurers, and other organizations. These third-party payors may deny coverage or reimbursement for a product or therapy in whole or in part if they determine that the product or therapy was not medically appropriate or necessary. Third-party payors may attempt to control costs by limiting coverage to specific drug products on an approved list, or formulary, which might not include all of the FDA-approved drug products for a particular indication, and by limiting the amount of reimbursement for particular procedures or drug treatments. In addition, in the United States, participation in government health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are subject to complex rules and controls relating to price reporting and calculation of prices to ensure that pricing provided to government entities for periodic reporting purposes is aligned and compliant with numerous complex statutory requirements. The infrastructure and/or external resources necessary to ensure continued compliance with these requirements is extensive and manufacturers are subject to audit both by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and by State Medicaid authorities.
The cost of pharmaceuticals and devices continues to generate substantial governmental and third party payor interest. We expect that the pharmaceutical industry will experience pricing pressures due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of managed care organizations and additional legislative proposals. Third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and examining the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of medical products and services, in addition to their safety and efficacy. We may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost- effectiveness of our products, in addition to the costs required to obtain the FDA approvals. Our product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost-effective. A payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Adequate third-party reimbursement may not be available to enable us to maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.
Some third-party payors also require pre-approval of coverage for new or innovative devices or drug therapies before they will reimburse healthcare providers who use such therapies. While we cannot predict whether any proposed cost-containment measures will be adopted or otherwise implemented in the future, these requirements or any announcement or adoption of such proposals could have a material adverse effect on our ability to obtain adequate prices for our product candidates and to operate profitably.
In international markets, reimbursement and healthcare payment systems vary significantly by country, and many countries have instituted price ceilings on specific products and therapies. There can be no assurance that our products will be considered medically reasonable and necessary for a specific indication, that our products will be considered cost-effective by third-party payors, that coverage or an adequate level of reimbursement will be available or that the third-party payors reimbursement policies will not adversely affect our ability to sell our product profitably.
In the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could affect our future results of operations. In particular, there have been and continue to be a number of initiatives at the U.S. federal and state levels that seek to reduce healthcare costs. In the U.S., the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, or the Medicare Modernization Act, changed the way Medicare covers and pays for pharmaceutical