a change of heart!…

Posted on Saturday 25 October 2014

FLASH – I just found this!
By Gareth MacDonald

DG Health will keep responsibility for the EMA according to European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, who confirmed plans to hand the agency to DG Enterprise have been abandoned.
by Henriette Jacobsen

The responsibility for the policy on pharmaceuticals was initially put under the supervision of Elzbieta Bienkowska, the Polish Commissioner-designate responsible for the EU’s Single Market, Industry and Enterprises, as well as SMEs. This prompted harsh criticism from the EU health community, and some members of the European Parliament, in recent months, with, for example, the European Public Health Alliance [EPHA] stating that the Lithuanian Health Commissioner-candidate Vytenis Andriukaitis was deprived of a fundamental tool to protect public health.

Speaking in front of the Parliament in Strasbourg on the Commission’s political guidelines, Juncker said he had changed his mind when it comes to health. "Responsibility for medicines and pharmaceutical products will stay with the Directorate-General for Health because I agree with you that medicines are not goods like any other," he said, adding that Andriukaitis and Bienkowska will develop the relevant policy jointly.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) said in a statement that Juncker’s decision is a clear signal to consumers that their health comes before economic interests. “Our efforts have paid off, this is a true consumer victory," the consumer organisation said.

Last month, the pharmaceutical industry denied that it had lobbied to get Juncker to move the industry out of the health dossier. "What we, from the industry, suggested was that the Commission should develop a comprehensive strategy for life sciences to be coordinated. We have not lobbied or expressed a view of how a unit should be structured," Richard Bergström, the director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), stated.
In European Medicines Agency: a disappointment…  I was lamenting this change most of all – saying:
    President Juncker’s moving the European Medicines Agency from the directorate general for health and consumers [DG SANCO] to the directorate general for the internal market, industry, and entrepreneurship [DG ENTR] makes a huge symbolic and practical statement – it’s a seller’s market where  pharmaceuticals are more important as commodities than as remedies for the sick. That’s a completely outrageous assertion.
What a fine change of heart! Good on President Juncker. I retract some [but not all] of my disappointment…

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