Health technologies should remain in the Health portfolio

On 11 December we wrote a letter together with other allies to President Juncker to express our concerns in relation to the move of the portfolio for health technologies. This portfolio, which encompasses medical devices (Unit SANCO B2, Health Technology and Cosmetics), will be moved from the European Commission’s Health Directorate-General (DG SANCO) to the one dealing with Enterprises and Industry (DG ENTR).

As for medicinal products, we believe that DG SANCO is best placed to ensure health technologies are regulated in the interest of patients’ safety and public health. Pharmaceuticals and health technologies are of equal importance in the provision of care and should not be treated differently. Over the past years, numerous scandals and controversies over faulty medical devices have shown the need to maintain a health and safety perspective over an economic growth perspective.

Ensuring that these technologies are efficient and safe to use is of utmost importance and we insist that this competence is left in the hands of Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health. We already raised our concerns jointly with other European Health NGOs in an open letter addressed on 28 October 2014 and we were delighted that Mr Juncker heard the civil society’s call, at least for medicines. We now reiterate our plea as to keep the portfolio of health technologies also in the Directorate-General for Health.

“We call on the Commission to put the health of European citizens before economic interests. The needs of patients should always come first. This is particularly vital at a time when European health systems are facing many challenges. Having a coherent EU public health policy is only possible if driven by the needs of patients,” concluded our President Anders Olauson.