The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) had a hearing on “Pharmaceuticals” on the 20th of April. The purpose was to ensure a good discussion on the 4 preliminary opinions with regards to the Pharmaceutical package. Those four opinions were then adopted at their plenary session on 10 and 11 June 2009 and have today been published on the EESC website. I didn’t attend their plenary session but the hearing I did manage to attend – I did find it quite interesting with some new perspectives on pharmaceutical information (on the difference between info and advertising) and distribution (internet sales) being highlighted.
At the hearing I found Mr Michel Nakache, Chairman of the Health Communication Council of the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) especially refreshing. He stated that he could not understand when people claimed it hard to legally differentiate between information and advertising, that his professionals could do quite easily since it is their profession and that maybe they should have been asked for this explanation earlier. Now I might have misunderstood him since in the report from the event it only says that Mr Nakache “also welcomed the pharmaceutical package. On information to patients he stressed the need to clearly differentiate advertising and non-promotional information.”
All too often good discussions in Brussels end up in quite PC standpoints or summaries. But not always. In the EESC pressrelease one can find that the plenary session “called for free movement of medicines and for the completion of a Single Market in the pharmaceuticals sector”. Must mean they are not too happy with the ECJ decision on the Italian market regulation with regards to pharmacies. The final documents and more can be found here.