EU reverses course, won't cede drug-related decisions to pharma
- EU President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker has decided that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will remain part of the Directorate General (DG) for Health and Consumers, instead of being transitioned to the DG of Enterprise and Industry as originally planned.
- Juncker's original decision to transition the EMA to the DG of Enterprise and Industry had been controversial, with many pointing out that pharmaceuticals should not be treated in the same manner as consumer goods and advocates warning that such a move would be a body blow to the pharma transparency movement.
- The overall reaction to the news has been positive, with the BEUC (European Consumer Organisation) responding favorably to the decision.
There have been numerous areas of controversy surrounding the EMA and the healthcare sector in general in the EU. One major issue has been clinical trial transparency; the other, the possibility of transitioning the EMA to a governmental division that oversees consumer and industrial goods.
Those who were against the decision were adamant that pharmaceuticals and healthcare in general fall under a different rubric than industrial and consumer goods, and that these products should therefore be protected and managed separately. These vocal advocates have succeeded in their quest and the EMA will remain where it is. "[M]edicines are not goods like any other," as Juncker put it.