Views & Reviews

The European Medicines Agency is still too close to industry

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2412 (Published 06 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2412
  1. Silvio Garattini, director
  1. IRCCS Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Via Giuseppe La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy
  1. silvio.garattini{at}marionegri.it

Two decades after its inception, the agency still fails to put patients’ interests first

Fifteen years ago I raised criticisms about the policy and attribution of the then young European Medicines Agency (EMA) and its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).1

With the same aim of encouraging this institution to put the interests of patients and public health services first, I now offer an updated picture (see table).

The current supervising directorate general of the European Commission is certainly more appropriate than before: first it was DG Enterprise, which also represents drug companies—a considerable conflict of interest. Today it is DG Sanco, which is responsible for health and consumers.

Withdrawal by a company of an application for marketing authorisation no longer precludes the publication of a negative opinion by the CHMP with its reasons. And now, when the CHMP does not unanimously …

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