The advertising to users of medicines puts at risk the health and sustainability of health care systems

December 2, 2010

The European Parliament has just approved the possibility that the pharmaceutical industry to report directly to patients about medication on prescription.

This measure, which supposedly done to improve the information of the citizens, is really a major setback to the right of reliable information and quality.

There is much evidence that the information the industry provides to professionals contains numerous biases that magnify the effects of pharmaceuticals and minimizes or hides the health risks.

It turns out to be difficult therefore to think that the own industry that makes the products and it has direct interests to promote his sale could favour a ” objective and impartial ” information, and it is expected that this information is addressed to encourage inappropriate consumption of drugs and shoot up pharmaceutical cost (as has been demonstrated in countries like USA where there is direct advertising of medicines to “consumers”), which is particularly irresponsible and dangerous in a time of economic crisis and can lead to damage patients health.

The legislation leaves it to the EU member states the final regulation of this information, and obviously this way can establish control mechanisms to reduce the worst effects of this rule. Anyway, the experience of USA and Canada leaves room for little doubt about the negative health effects and costs of this measure.

Therefore we understand that the Council of the EU where their member states are present must veto this initiative that represents a step backwards on the current situation, an attack to public health and puts at risk the health of citizens and the sustainability of the European Union health systems.

International Association of Health Policy
Federation of Associations for the Defence of Public Health

November 30, 2010

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