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Emergency Products and COVID-19

BIICL is undertaking a project to assess the impact of COVID-19 on emergency products in the medical sphere.

This is a topical theme engaging important public health considerations, and involving the analysis of the law and regulation of products such as ventilators, medicines, medical devices, vaccines and related health products.

A Product Liability Forum event was organised on this theme on 4 May 2020. Speakers included Pr. Geraint Howells, Marcus Pilgerstorfer QC, Dr Peter Feldschreiber, Jeff Bucholtz of King & Spalding (Washington DC), Pr. Jean-Sebastian Borghetti, Paris II, John Wilkinson (formerly MHRA) and Pr. Eleonora Rajneri (University of Piementonti Orientale).

Various research outputs have also been generated by this project, including a blog piece by Pr. Duncan Fairgrieve, Pr. Geraint Howells and Marcus Pilgerstorfer QC.

A major paper was published by Pr. Duncan Fairgrieve, Dr Peter Feldschreiber, Pr. Geraint Howells and Marcus Pilgerstorfer QC, "Products in a Pandemic : Liability for Medical Products and the Fight against Covid-19." This paper can be downloaded here. It will be published in the European Journal of Risk Regulation.

Acceptability of a COVID-19 vaccine

Another strand of this work involves a particular focus on the COVID-19 vaccine, with an analysis of the social acceptance, legal and ethical implications of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

This project examines the issue of the acceptability of emergency vaccines and remedies for adverse reactions by adopting an interdisciplinary methodology, examining the historical, legal, regulatory and economic, and ethical perspectives to this important issue.

This interdisciplinary project brings together three different centres of expertise: legal (BIICL and University of Manchester); ethics (University of Manchester) and social sciences / history of medicine (University of Oxford/Dublin). The core research team is made up of Prof. Duncan Fairgrieve  (BIICL), Prof. Geraint Howells and Prof. Søren Holm (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester), Dr Samantha Vanderslott (Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford) and Dr Claas Kirchhelle (University College Dublin; Oxford Martin School University of Oxford).

For press reports of this work, see the article by Lionel Laurent in Bloomberg Opinion about the important topic of public trust in CV-19 vaccines.

Response to Government Consultation on modification of medicine licensing rules to support the rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines

The UK Government is considering making changes to the Human Medicine Regulations in order to grant a temporary authorisation to CV-19 vaccines without going through the full safety process found in the normal medicine licensing rules.

A group of specialists, including Prof. Duncan Fairgrieve, have commented on these proposals in a submission made to the UK Government's Open Consultation. The submission can be downloaded here.

For further information, contact Pr. Duncan Fairgrieve  by email on

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