Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Alarm and Disbelief" As New EU President Moves Regulation of Medicines To Industry Ministry


September 18, 2014

The new President-elect of the European Union Jean-Claude Juncker has removed key responsibilities relating to health and medicines from the government Commissioner in charge of health and food safety and given them to the Commissioner responsible for enterprise and industry. In a press release and open letter, the European Public Health Alliance and a wide array of other organizations are expressing “astonishment and concern” and “alarm and disbelief.”
“The public health community has reacted with alarm and disbelief at the ill-thought distribution of responsibilities amongst the in-coming European Commissioners,” says the European Public Health Alliance in a press release. The EPHA says the decision “threatens Europe’s ability to prepare for major health crises such as outbreaks of infectious diseases and health threats arising from climate change, whilst putting the public interest behind the drive for profits in drug authorisation procedures.”
“We are writing to express our astonishment and concern regarding your decision to move the competence for medicinal products and health technologies from the Commissioner in charge of Health to the Commissioner in charge of internal market and industry,” says an open letter to Juncker signed by over 30 organizations. “The shift you are proposing sends the wrong signal to European citizens and patients – namely that economic interests come before their health.”
An article in the British Medical Journal similarly suggests the decision represents “a victory of profits over public health.” The editors of the British Medical Journal and the non-profit Prescrire also sent a joint letter to Juncker, calling his decision “a great disappointment.”
Juncker puts Europe’s security at risk by promoting profit over public health (Press Release from European Public Health Alliance, September 12, 2014)
The European Commission and pharmaceutical policy: A victory of profits over public health?(McKee, Martin. British Medical Journal. September 15, 2014. doi:
Mr Juncker, medicines are not just a commodity… (Letter from Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal and Bruno Toussaint director of la revue Prescrire, September 14, 2014)
Also see:
abuzz over there… (1 boring old man, September 17, 2014)
a coup d’état… (1 boring old man, September 17, 2014)

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