Health

What the European election means for health care

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The European Parliament election is sure to shake up health care issues as newly elected MEPs jockey for positions following the departure of some key members.

While some familiar faces are sticking around, theres a notable vacuum when it comes to one of the most controversial files that will carry over to the next Parliament — health technology assessment legislation — as many of the rapporteurs are now gone.

An influx of Green party candidates will likely ramp up pressure on industry, including pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturers, and also ensure stronger ties between environmental and health issues.

MEPs will elect a new Parliament president and confirm the committees at the first plenary sitting scheduled to begin July 2. The committees will hold their first meetings in July, when theyll elect their chairs and vice-chairs.

Romanian European Peoples Party MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean, the most recent chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI), is returning to Parliament.

Here are our four takeaways for health:

1. Greens want EU to do more on health

Big Pharma and Big Chem better watch out. With Green parties picking up at least 15 more seats, theyre going to have greater strength in numbers when pushing their environment and public health agenda, which they believe the current European Commission is not delivering on.

“DG SANTE is not sufficiently standing up against the pharmaceutical industry, industrial farming, and the chemical sector,” Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout, Greens co-candidate for Commission president, said in an emailed statement.

Thats good news for health care groups, which in their manifestos to candidates asked for a bigger EU role in health, including the possibility of a Commission vice president for health in all policies. Eickhout said he thought a VP for health “makes sense,” as long as the job came with concrete policies rather than just a title. The Commission should have a bigger role in many issues, including “protecting patients, stimulating research, making sure medicines have an added value and are affordable, aligning trade and health policy, and ensuring that products are safe,” he said.

Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr said at a POLITICO event on Monday he “would expect the green wave will have a strong impact on the program of the next European Commission president.”

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Its worth noting though that while the Greens made gains in Western European countries, such as Germany, France, Finland and Luxembourg, they didnt win any seats in Southern or Eastern Europe.

One new face in the Greens sure to be heavily involved in health care issues is Belgian MEP Petra De Sutter, a former senator in Belgiums parliament and a physician who runs the department for reproductive medicine at Ghent University. De Sutter told POLITICO shed be interested to serve on the parliamentary committees for health and justice following her election Sunday night, particularly on issues related to endocrine disruptors and female genital mutilation.

2. HTA needs a new shepherd

One of the Parliaments trickiest health files needs a new leader.

The elections saw a mass exodus — both by choice and by chance — of the rapporteurs of the health technology assessment legislation.

Lead rapporteur Spanish Socialist MEP Soledad Cabezón Ruiz wasnt on her partys list this time around and European Peoples Party shadow rapporteur French MEP Françoise Grossetête and ALDE shadow rapporteur German MEP Gesine Meißner both called it quits. Belgian ALDE MEP Lieve Wierinck, who led the opinion for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, wasnt reelected.

The Greens shadow rapporteur Michèle Rivasi, from France, declared a win Sunday amid her partys success. And it looks like Romanian European Peoples Party MEP Cristian-Silviu Bușoi, who led the HTA opinion for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, will eek out a win. He was No. 9 on the National Liberal Party (PNL) list in Romania and provisional results predict they will win 10 seats.

German EPP MEP Peter Liese was also reelected. A vocal proponent of EU-level HTA, Liese may try to take up the mantle for his party.

3. Medical device champions remain

Many of the MEPs who worked on the new medical device regulations last session are returning, including Liese who was co-rapporteur on the file.

While the new rules were agreed in 2017, some MEPs and Council representatives have suggested the Commission has been dragging its feet on implementation and hasnt done enough to ensure readiness as the 2020 deadline looms. Industry has been sounding the alarm as there aRead More – Source
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