Observations Border Crossing

EU reshuffle has health potential

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c382 (Published 20 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c382
  1. Tessa Richards, assistant editor, BMJ
  1. trichards{at}bmj.com

    Putting the European Commission’s health directorate in charge of pharmaceuticals policy is a good move but is not the only one needed to improve drug regulation

    Observers of the European health scene are upbeat. A new European commissioner for health, John Dalli, is poised to take office, and unlike his predecessors he has experience of both European Union politics and health. Furthermore, his portfolio has been expanded.

    The key new brief that his department, DG SANCO (the directorate general for health and consumer affairs), has acquired is responsibility for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Until now the commission’s enterprise and industry department has been in charge of legislation on pharmaceuticals and medical devices and oversight of the European Medicines Agency. DG SANCO is also taking over responsibility for pesticides and biotechnology from the environment department.

    Since the shuffle of portfolios between EU commissioners, the discourse about its implications has become a minority sport. But this upgrade for the health department warrants attention.

    It will increase the power and influence of a department whose size and profile have been growing steadily since it was established in 1999 by Romano …

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