On 1 July 2012, Cyprus took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Denmark. On 9 July 2012, the Cypriot Presidency was present at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI), at which they presented their work programme for their term.
The fact that the Minister is aware of the benefits of these trials is of great significance as the eHealth 2012-2020 Action Plan will be published during the Cypriot Presidency. It has already been rumoured that the Member States will be calling for a strong eHealth Action Plan. If this is so then the Cypriot Minister’s support for virtual trials in this proposal has the potential to greatly benefit the aims of VPH and in silico clinical trials.
The Minister also revealed that the European Council is currently negotiating with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (a two billion private-public partnership between the European Commission and the Pharmaceutical Industry), to look at the possibility of funding research into these in silico clinical trials.
At the meeting Vittorio Prodi MEP (S&D, Italy) raised the issue of animal testing, stating that clinical trials could become much more innovative by predictive toxicology or virtual applications and could in future reduce the need for animal testing. The Cypriot Minister for Health, Stavros Malas recognised that there was great potential in these fields and stated that predictive toxicology and virtual clinical trials should be used before clinical trials on humans.
The Council of the European Union has a rotating presidency every 6 months. Every Presidency selects several priorities for they term, based on the country’s main interest and the envisaged EU work programme. The Cypriot presidency will last until 31st December 2012 and be replaced by Ireland (from 1 January 2013 until 30 June 2013) as the head of the Council of the European Union.