Finnegan's Take

Shock! Horror! NGOs have gotten their way despite fierce resistance from the pharma industry

Pharmaceutical policy will move to the European Commission’s health and consumer wing, DG Sanco, as part of a shake-up of responsibilities by President Barroso. This means control of medicines, which rested with DG Entrprise & Industry, is now under the wing of new health chief, John Dalli.

Patient groups have been lobbying hard for this since the dawn of time but big pharma has put up equally stern resistance. NGOs argued that medicines policy comes under the health departments in almost all member states, but industry has noted that, at EU level, pharmaceuticals has more impact on trade than anything else.

The news is a blow to DG Enterprise – now called Industry and Entrepreneurship – which could even lose control of the European Innovation Act to the new Commissioner for Innovation & Research, and also cedes the Better Regulation unit to the Secretariat General.

DG Sanco will now be responsible for the European Medicines Agency, and has also been given responsibility for biotechnology, pesticides and health, which will move from DG Environment.

Overall, it looks like a boost for the Health Commissioner and the new Innovation & Research Commissioner, at the expense of DG Enterprise and DG Environment (which will also be overshadowed by the new Climate Action Commissioner).

Lots more to follow on EurActiv today and throughout next week.

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