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H1N1 : better risk management needed


09 Mar 2011


EU Priorities 2020
Health & Consumers

The European Parliament adopted today a report which calls for a new initiative of the management of the H1N1 flu crisis. The main conclusions are a lack of independent evaluation by national and European health authorities, a striking contrast between the number of deaths associated with H1N1 and the number of deaths associated with seasonal influenza, a wide variation in the cost of vaccination strategies among Member States.

The report focuses on necessary action for the future, including group purchasing of vaccines and more safeguards against conflicts of interest.

ALDE underlines that this report is an important attempt to highlight the concerns that have been raised about the disproportionate response to the swine flu in Europe, as well as the potential influence of pharmaceutical companies.

ALDE also called for complete independence of the experts and vaccine manufacturers.
spokesperson, MEP Corinne Lepage (Cap21, France) said: "Public opinion is demonstrating an increasing distrust towards scientific expertise and public authorities. In this context, the European Parliament sent two clear messages that we dramatically need to establish effective rules to avoid any kind of conflict of interests. This report asks for a common definition and full transparency. Unfortunately, during a vote in the parliamentary Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, both socialist and conservative MEPs have refused to allow a verification of the declarations of interests.

"What purpose is there in demanding that a declaration of interests be published if it is not verified? In this area there can be no half measures. It is critical as the recent case of the former Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has revealed important deficiencies in the system. This official has been authorised to advise the industry immediately after being in charge of the evaluation and supervision of its products and without any substantial inquiry about his future role."

"There needs to be much closer cooperation between all institutions and Member States in this area."

The report deals with a joint procurement mechanism for pandemic vaccines, coordinated vaccination strategies and better communication strategy both to the general public and health professionals.

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