Juncker should put health policy back where it belongs

The new European Commission was finally publically announced last Wednesday by the incoming President, Jean-Claude Juncker. By shifting the medical devices and pharmaceuticals dossiers from health officials to those with a remit for industry and internal market affairs, Juncker’s decision has sparked a backlash among health campaigners.

Dismayed by this decision, BEUC teamed up with 27 European health NGOs to write a letter urging Juncker to swiftly reverse his decision.

Our clear view is that EU laws governing pharmaceuticals and health technology should be driven by a will to promote public health, not industrial competitiveness. Promoting the latter is however the mandate of DG industry and Internal Market. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices help save lives. They are not just like any other commercial  product.

This is something of a déjà vu for health campaigners. During the Barroso I Commission, the same dossiers were dealt with by DG Enterprise. In 2009, when the Barroso II Commission took office, NGOs managed to have health technology & pharmaceuticals moved to the DG Health & Consumers. But five years later, the assigned portfolios are going back to square one.

If the Commission wants to safeguard Europeans’ right to high quality, safe and affordable treatments, Mr Juncker should reverse this plan. Medical devices and pharmaceuticals should stay where they belong, clearly that is within health policy.


Related documents:
‘Open Letter to President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker on move of medicinal products and health technologies to the portfolio of the Commissioner for internal market and industry’ – 16/09/2014
‘New European Commission announced: First BEUC comments’ – Press statement, 10/09/2014