Healthcare & Life Sciences

William Fry is recognised as a leading law firm for Healthcare and Life Sciences work, providing transactional and regulatory advice to some of the world’s leading companies.  Our client base includes a number of the top Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Device companies, as well as leading healthcare providers, pharmacies, health insurers and related professionals.

Our integrated team operates on a cross-departmental basis, enabling us to provide specialist advice on a range of issues, including:

  • Clinical advisory work to healthcare professionals, institutions and indemnifiers 
  • Healthcare litigation in cases of clinical negligence claims, fitness to practice hearings,  Coroner’s Inquests
  • Regulatory issues around the research, manufacture, labelling, advertising, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical, biotech and related products,
  • Product liability and recall issues
  • Judicial review of regulatory authorities.
  • Intellectual property law advice, including patent licensing, infringement and invalidity issues
  • Corporate structuring and commercial agreements
  • Fund-raising 
  • Taxation advice
  • Mergers, acquisitions and IPO’s

Our knowledge and experience in advising companies in this sector enables us to understand our clients’ needs and to work with them to provide innovative solutions to legal issues.

  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc on its agreement to buy a bulk biologics manufacturing plant from Pfizer for US$48.5m
  • The Sodexo Group on the purchase of a majority interest in Zehnacker Ireland Holdings Limited which will trade as Sodexo Zehnecker Healthcare
  • Olympus Corporation in the sale of its worldwide diagnostic systems business to biomedical test products maker, Beckman Coulter Inc, for a consideration of approximately €630 million. This was a multi-jurisdictional transaction that involved a complex pre-sale hive down restructuring
  • Pfizer (Warner Lambert, a wholly-owned company of Pfizer) in its successful defence of its Lipitor patents, blocking generic production of its product until expiry. Lipitor is the world’s largest selling anti-cholesterol drug, which generates annual worldwide sales of €7.7bn
  • AstraZeneca in the successful conclusion of the defence of its patent protecting its best selling drug Nexium
  • BiancaMed on its sale to ResMed, and on an on-going basis,  in the commercial exploitation of its patents with strategic partners including negotiating agreements with Omron Healthcare, a Japanese leader in healthcare solutions, Dorel Inc., one of the leading providers of healthcare solutions in the United States and iRhythm a leading international player in the cardiac rhythm monitoring sector
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc on the Irish aspects of the US$200m acquisition by Eurofins Scientific SE of Lancaster Laboratories Inc
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC) in relation to its investment in the Beacon Hospital which involved a complex corporate restructuring, with tax, banking, intellectual property and detailed property and construction advices.  On an ongoing basis, we advise UPMC on its day to day operations at the Beacon Hospital.  We also act for UPMC in relation to its investment in the Whitfield Clinic in Waterford
  • Trinity Biotech plc on the €66m sale of its diagnostic coagulation business to Stago International S.A.S.
  • Millipore Corporation in connection with its €53bn global takeover by Merck KGaA
  • The Medical Protection Society on medical negligence claims, regulatory and medical ethics issues, attendances at Inquests in the Coroner’s Court and in relation to complaints against MPS Members to the Medical Council
  • EirGen Pharma Limited in respect of fundraisings and ongoing commercial and patent advice
  • Crospon Limited on an innovative mix of high tech and biotech to produce an industry first skin patch that acts as a “smart” drug delivery device. This transaction between a smaller Irish medical device company and an IT industry giant has attracted significant international industry and media interest
  • The State Claims Agency in defending a cohort of clinical negligence claims in the Circuit and High Court jurisdictions
  • Barchester Healthcare on the recently opened Knightsbrook Village retirement community and primary care centre in Trim, County Meath, Stewarts Hospital and other private healthcare providers
  • International Investment and Underwriting (IIU) and Hibernian Health (formerly VIVAS) Management on the recent sale of their majority stake in the health insurer VIVAS to Hibernian Group
  • Helix Health Group Limited on the €5m investment by the Diageo Ulster Bank Equity Fund Limited Partnership, and on-going commercial and intellectual property law advice
  • Pharmacies in the Irish pharmacy sector including Boots Retails (Ireland) Limited and Uniphar plc, on protection of their trade mark portfolios and other matters.

Third Strike for Warner-Lambert's Lyrica® patent

The lengthy Lyrica® patent dispute between Warner-Lambert and Mylan and Actavis is over. Last week the UK Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Warner-Lambert's appeal concerning the validity and infringement of their second medical use patent (patents covering new therapeutic uses for known active ingredients).

ECJ issues Decision on SPCs for Medical Devices

ECJ rules on the availability of SPC protection for medical devices incorporating a pharmaceutical drug

Data Protection Commission Publishes Report on Special Investigation in the Hospitals Sector

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has published a special investigation report on data protection in the hospitals sector.

The Patent Litigation Law Review: Ireland

William Fry have written the Irish chapter for the inaugural edition of 'The Patent Litigation Law Review'

Medical Practitioners Now Required by law to Hold Indemnity Insurance

The Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act 2017 introduces a mandatory legal requirement for medical practitioners to have in place a "minimum level" of indemnity cover.

View all

"William Fry was instrumental in guiding us through all aspects of the complex transaction and due diligence. The expertise include Irish law, government contracting, tax, property, bank restructurings, real estate/leasing as well as general advice on the Irish business culture….Overall, the service provided by William Fry was excellent. At all times they approached matters with professionalism and with UPMC’s best interest……Our business objective was successfully completed. It would have been impossible without the counsel of William Fry. It was well worth the investment spend…..Excellent advisor to contracting matters with the Irish government.”

David Farner, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, UPMC


  • One client admires the "width and depth of expertise within the firm" and lauds the department as a "strong practice that understands the minutiae of the life sciences sector." Sources appreciate the "first-rate access and availability" of the team and describe its advice as "considered, pragmatic and clear." Chambers Europe, 2017
  • William Fry's 'top-class' group is led by corporate partner David Carthy, who is 'a trusted adviser'. The multidisciplinary team performs strongly in M&A, medical negligence, IP and regulatory work, acting for clients such as Boston Scientific, Forest Laboratories and the Medical Protection Society. Legal 500, 2015
  • "The team's outlook is always innovative and modern. The team is always very responsive and keeps us in the loop so we know where they are and what they are doing." Chambers Europe, 2014
  • William Fry ‘consistently delivers in-depth and accurate legal advice with speed and cost-effectiveness’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
  • William Fry is ‘top class’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013


  • David Carthy
    • David Carthy is  ‘knowledgeable’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • "Overall David was outstanding as our lead attorney and advisor.  His strengths included client relations, listening, communication skills, background of knowledge in healthcare, breadth of knowledge, ability to mobilize firm resources as necessary.  As lead partner for the engagement, David was integral to each aspect of the complex transaction.  His counsel, experience and negotiation skills are excellent.” David Farner, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, UPMC
    • "An absolute expert and key leader," David  "understands not only where our business is, but what our plans are, how we want to grow and what the consequences are," enthuse clients. Chambers Europe, 2014
    • David is a firm favourite with clients and is described as “calm and considered, with a wealth of knowledge about the area.” Chambers Europe, 2013
    • David Cullen is ‘one of the best in the business’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013
  • Carol Plunkett
    • Carol enjoys strong feedback for her expertise and prowess in contentious IP cases, as well as litigious proceedings involving the technology sector. One interviewee calls her "a real heavyweight" and "one of the most senior litigators in Ireland," adding: "Nothing fazes her, so that is reassuring for the client." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Carol  has ‘an amazing IP knowledge base’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Carol, who heads the firm's contentious IP practice, is highlighted by market commentators as an "extremely accomplished lawyer" and "a leader in IP litigation."  Chambers Europe 2016
    • Carol  is unanimously regarded as a "powerhouse of IP" with "a wealth of experience" in the field. Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Carol Plunkett has ‘great instincts’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Clients feel Carol "has a very good grasp of the brief and the workings of our business. She gives practical, straightforward advice."  Chambers Europe, 2014
    • You can’t mention patent litigation in Ireland without mentioning Carol Plunkett”, regarded by many as the country’s top IP lawyer.  IAM Patent 1000, 2014  
  • Laura Scott
    • Laura Scott receives plaudits for her trade mark and patent litigation practice, with particular knowledge of the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. Clients say: "She is very hard-working, responsive and dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in considering and communicating all available options. She is also extremely pleasant to work with." Chambers Europe 2017 
    • "Her commitment to clients, astute strategy, technical strength and attention to detail are second to none." Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Clients describe Laura Scott as "absolutely superb. She is very thorough; her work underpins our company." Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Laura Scott has the ‘Midas touch with clients’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • Fiona Barry
    • Clients praise her as being "responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant." Chambers Global 2017
    • Fiona Barry is ‘responsive, calm and considered’. Legal 500 EMEA 2016
    • Fiona Barry is 'excellent’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • Fiona Barry's practice encompasses commercial litigation, medical negligence and defamation. Clients value her input, praising her as being “receptive to our needs. She supports and assists our clients.” Chambers Europe 2013

Key Contacts

Laura Scott Partner

Fiona Barry Partner

Sinead Keavey Partner

View All