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The EPP gives in to the pharmaceutical lobby instead of supporting fair access to medicines in Andalusia, say S&Ds


Health & Consumers
Again today the conservative EPP group in the European Parliament attacked the regional government of Andalusia (Spain) for its public system to prescribe medicines. 
The Spanish branch of the EPP group, which already lost three Constitutional Court cases in Spain on this issue, brought the discussion to the petitions committee in the European Parliament given that the Spanish justice already rejected its claim. The role of the petitions committee is to refer the petitioner's complaint to the right instance where it can be solved. The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament welcome the committee's decision to close the petition for its lack of basis, as stated also by the European Commission representative.
Virginie Rozière, S&D spokesperson for the internal market, said:
“It is disgraceful that the EPP uses the European Parliament to overcome the ruling of the Spanish courts. But the message from the parliamentary petitions committee today was clear: the regional government has the right to find the best possible system to ensure a healthy universal and free public health service. It is unfortunate that the EPP privileges the pharmaceutical lobby over citizens and social security budgets.
“Andalusia is a pioneer in the prescription by active principle - that is to say, favouring generic brands-, in the implementation of the electronic prescription and in the public selection of medicines, among other measures. This system of acquiring medicines is already used in Germany and Belgium.”
Soledad Cabezón, S&D MEP responsible for this petition and author of the parliamentary report on Access to Medicines, said:
“Based on European experience, this is one the best methods to promote equality in public health and save money in the public budget. The steady rise in the price of drugs in Europe is creating inequalities in the access to medicines. Against this circumstance, all administrations must guarantee a fair access to medicines to all citizens.
“Last year the European Parliament adopted the measures recommended in my report* in order to resist pressure from big pharmaceuticals and support public health. My report proposed both a directive on transparency of price-setting procedures and reimbursement system and also the medicament public tendering system as an effective measure to save public money. This is the reason why it is used in European countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Sweden or Denmark. It was adopted by an overwhelming majority in the Parliament, including the EPP. 
“Everyone in Europe understands that money should be invested in other resources such as more medical staff and better infrastructures rather than buying expensive medicines if there is a cheaper alternative. Moreover, the supply of the medicaments with this system is guaranteed in the case of Andalusia, as the central government selects the minimum services - including the pharmacologically active substance to be offered-, and the regions only can increase them. So it is hard to understand the Spanish EPP motivations."