On 10 September 2014, President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker announced a reoganisation of certain key portfolios.
Of immediate interest is that Units SANCO B2 (Health technology and cosmetics), SANCO D5 (Medicinal Products – Authorisations, EMA) and SANCO D6 (Medicinal Products – Quality, Safety and Efficacy) will no longer be handled by DG SANCO but will fall under DG Enterprise.
Although DG Enterprise in the past handled these topics before they were delegated to DG SANCO, this decision by President Juncker has already met with significant backlash from health stakeholders, over 30 of which published a letter on 16 September 2014 which condemned the decision by Mr. Junker and described the change as “unjustified and represents a major step back”.
Key Members of the European Parliament who are strong health leaders such as recently appointed Rapporteur for the Medical Devices Regulation, Glenis Willmott (S&D, UK) are also adamantly opposed to this change.
Given that this change is likely driven by both the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and Member States themselves with large health-industry markets, it is difficult to tell if such opposition could lead to a reversal of this decision.
The change of portfolios could make the Commission more naturally open to industry and macro health economics arguments rather than the need to focus on specific health areas.
The change would not necessarily be bad for VPH as the need to pursue in silico models can be put forward as an industry wide issue that requires action and support on the part of EU policy makers.
The VPH PAWG will be following this issue closely and will keep Members updated on potential changes.