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Michèle Rivasi and Corinne Lepage: We urgently need to restore the confidence of European citizens in their health institutions


28 Oct 2010


EU Priorities 2020
Health & Consumers

MEPs Michèle RIVASI (Greens-EFA), Rapporteur on Evaluation of the management of H1N1 influenza in the EU, and Corinne LEPAGE (ADLE), Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Environment, organised in the European Parliament a hearing on expertise in the area of health in the EU.

This hearing brought together representatives of the European Commission, European agencies, industry and civil society.

For Michèle RIVASI and Corinne LEPAGE: "the discussions were very open, and were able to show to the agencies that we have a common objective: to restore the confidence of citizens in their health institutions. The credibility of expertise cannot be decreed, it is built through deeds. European health expertise must develop on sounder foundations. If the Commission and the agencies want to give themselves the means, MEPs are their best allies."

For Michèle RIVASI: "We went to the heart of the matter. On questions of transparency, we cannot content ourselves with the simple electronic publishing of statements of interests by the experts of the agencies or their management board. These declarations need especially to be correctly verified, and preferably independently. And if the statements turn out to be voluntarily incomplete or false, then individuals must be sanctioned. In the same way, the minutes of meetings must detail the contents of discussions, and the names of the experts that spoke. Without this it is impossible to know the point of view and any potential minor or major potential conflicts of interest of each person."

For Corinne LEPAGE: "the debates highlighted our shared will to establish effective rules to avoid any kind of conflict of interest. But what is at stake is not simply to respect the certain principles which are unanimously approved. Henceforth, it is a question of putting them into practice! Incidentally, coordination is certainly necessary: we were able to take measure of differences between the agencies concerning the rules on the management of expert opinion, is this really sound? Can we not put in place a common definition of conflict of interest for example?"



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