Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed yesterday’s vote in the Public Health Committee of the European Parliament, on a report setting out proposals for better access and affordability of medicines in Europe.
Speaking after the vote took place in Brussels, Ms. Childers said:
“If we keep relying on a model based on big pharma’s milking of patents for shareholders’ profits, we will see a worsening trend of stunted and skewed innovation, at prohibitive costs that are breaking the back of public healthcare provision.
“Transparency in research data is lacking, including on the true extent of expenditure on research and development.
“If we fail to pool knowledge across networks of bodies whose primary purpose is not for profit, we will be condemning less profitable patients to chronic lack of proper care.
“For all the work and ideas put forward and passed in this text, I was disheartened to see a majority of conservative colleagues opposed my proposals to safeguard clinical trial and pharmacovigilance data from trade secrets rules in international trade.
“Likewise, those colleagues also shot down my call to keep governments pricing and reimbursement prerogatives out of international trade negotiations.
“Years of austerity budgets, coupled with increasing prices of pharmaceutical products, have conspired to deny many of our citizens of medical products they require for essential health needs.
“For some, this comes in the form of a choice Europeans should not have to contemplate, between spending their income on medication or other essentials of life.
“Others were denied care as shortages of medicines followed deep public spending cuts, while big finance got a shot in the arm at everyone else’s expense.
“International medical NGOs had to rush onto the ground, providing the kinds of basic care we were used to seeing in far-flung disaster areas.”