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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

House agenda includes legislation on new pharma regulator, ride-hailing apps, cybercrimes, victims of terrorism, quota for women in the judiciary, among others

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives’ winter agenda includes legislation on new pharma regulator, ride-hailing apps, cybercrimes, victims of terrorism, quota for women in the judiciary, among others, according to stories out yesterday.

Law establishing new pharma sector regulator with cabinet next week: A draft law establishing a regulator for the pharma sector will make it to the Ismail cabinet’s meeting next week, Health Minister Ahmed Rady said on Monday, according to Al Borsa. “The law would set out to fix some of the glaring issues with the pharma sector,” Rady had said without diving into specifics. Plans for Pharma Regulator Act had been in the works since early in 2016, with the House of Representatives’ Healthcare Committee announcing that year that it was drafting a bill to establish a new market regulator at a time of widespread reports of meds shortages. At the time the committee had said that the regulator will have wide ranging authority over the industry, including responsibility for quality control and distribution policies as well as exports.

The proposed regulator would be an independent agency reporting to cabinet and not the Health Ministry, according to an earlier draft. The law is being drafted by the ministries of health and justice “with input from industry experts.”

Laws trickling out of State Council after reviews: In other legislative news, the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) has completed its review of the Ride-hailing Apps Act and the Cyber Crimes Act ahead of their being introduced in the House of Representatives, council sources tell Al Borsa. Both laws await final sign-off by the Ismail cabinet as early as today before going on the agenda in the House. As we noted last month, a number of industry sources have complained that the Ride-hailing Apps Act would disrupt the industry (and not in a good way) by ensuring that half of the fleets of apps such as Uber and Careem be made up of white taxis, imposing a licensing pricing scheme that favors taxi drivers, while allowing only a six-month compliance period. The Council also completed reviewing a law that would set up a fund to care for the victims of acts of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved in a plenary session amendments to the Agriculture Act that toughen sanctions for misuse of agricultural land. Under the changes, those who use agricultural land for non-agriculture developments could see jail time of up to two years and fines of up to EGP 50,000, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

And in a surprisingly enlightened move, House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal referred to committee a draft law that would set a quota for the appointment of women to the judicial branch of government, Al Shorouk reports.

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