Healthcare & Life Sciences

Healthcare & Life Sciences

Few matters cut deeper into the pockets of both individuals and businesses than healthcare costs. Medical scheme fraud, reported to be widespread, has added substantially to these costs, as has the onslaught of HIV/Aids. Legislative change has also been dramatic in the healthcare industry, resulting in a rash of disputes over dispensing fees, medicine pricing and the advertising of health products.

In this context, the firm is at the cutting edge of legal developments in the health, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. For instance, the Werksmans Healthcare & Life Sciences team has helped to clamp down on fraudulent medical claims by representing medical schemes and administrators against erring healthcare service providers. We have also assisted employers in implementing workable, cost-effective HIV/Aids workplace programmes.

The diversified knowledge of the team is complemented by in-depth insight into South Africa’s evolving legislative and regulatory environment. This includes the black economic empowerment requirements of the Health Charter and the legal implications of the National Health Act, Consumer Protection Act and foodstuff laws as well as the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme. Other sought-after skills of the team include know how in product liability matters, consumer protection, licensing, distribution agreements and compliance with clinical trials regulations.

Expertise in these fields is sharpened by extensive international involvement, which includes representation at the World Association of Medical Law and the World Congress on Public Healthcare Law & Ethics. Team members are often speakers at local and global conferences, covering topics ranging from stem cell research and euthanasia to traditional African medicine.

The Healthcare & Life Sciences practice works closely with other practice areas within the firm in order to provide a holistic service to clients. Practice areas with which the Healthcare & Life Sciences practice works include but are not limited to the following: Environmental, Dispute Resolution, Mining & Resources and Competition.

Services include advising on:

  • matters relating to or dealing with the provision of and access to healthcare in general and matters of administrative law, the latter including, but is not limited to –
    • medical schemes and their regulatory environment;
    • medicines, foodstuffs, cosmetics and disinfectants, hazardous substances, fertilisers, farm feeds, agricultural remedies and stock remedies; liquor and tobacco products;
    • the regulation of all health professions;
    • land reform and the restitution of land rights;
    • consumer laws;
    • gambling;
    • transport;
    • privacy and data protection;
    • advertising;
    • human rights;
    • genetically modified organisms and agriculture law;
    • all aspects of the above-mentioned areas from a dispute resolution, commercial and competition law perspective;
    • access to information, equality, administrative justice and review law; and
    • sports and recreation regulations;
  • all of these areas of law from a commercial perspective in relation to the conclusion of commercial contracts and the application of competition law to the structuring of commercial arrangements and the practising of various healthcare professions;
  • matters of a pro bono nature associated with or dealing directly with any or all of the above matters.

Contact Director Neil Kirby, Head of our Healthcare & Life Sciences practice area.

Download our Healthcare & Life Sciences practice area overview.