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.”
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
One-in-five suffers mental health condition in conflict zones: new UN report
More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, accord..
More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, according to a new UN-backed report, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for increased, sustained investment in mental health services in those zones.
Around 22 per cent of those affected, suffer depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet – a United Kingdom-based peer-reviewed medical journal.
“The new estimates, together with already available practical tools for helping people with mental health conditions in emergencies, add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment, so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath,” said study author Mark van Ommeren, who works in WHOs Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
The study also shows that about nine per cent of conflict-affected populations have a moderate to severe mental health condition; substantially higher than the global estimate for these mental health conditions in the general population.
“Depression and anxiety appeared to increase with age in conflict settings, and depression was more common among women than men”, according to the study.
The revised estimates use data from 39 countries published between 1980 and August 2017, categorized cases as mild, moderate or severe. Natural disasters and public health emergencies, such as recent Ebola virus outbreaks in Africa, were not included.
The findings suggested that past studies underestimated the burden of mental health conditions in conflict-affected areas,
showing increased rates of severe, moderate and mild mental health issues, with the latter being the most prevalent.
“I am confident that our study provides the most accurate estimates available today of the prevalence of mental health conditions in areas of conflict”, said lead author of the study Fiona Charlson of the University of Queensland, Australia and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in the United States.
In 2016, there were 53 ongoing conflicts in 37 countries, meaning that 12 per cent of the worlds population was living in an active conflict zone – an all-time high. Moreover, the fact that nearly 69 million people globally have been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, makes it the highest global number since the Second World War. (more…)
GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests
A fungus – genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin – can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosqu..
A fungus – genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin – can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria, a study suggests.
Trials, which took place in Burkina Faso, showed mosquito populations collapsed by 99% within 45 days.
The researchers say their aim is not to make the insects extinct but to help stop the spread of malaria.
The disease, which is spread when female mosquitoes drink blood, kills more than 400,000 people per year.
Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year.
Conducting the study, researchers at the University of Maryland in the US – and the IRSS research institute in Burkina Faso – first identified a fungus called Metarhizium pingshaense, which naturally infects the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.
The next stage was to enhance the fungus. "They're very malleable, you can genetically engineer them very easily," Prof Raymond St Leger, from the University of Maryland, told BBC News.
They turned to a toxin found in the venom of a species of funnel-web spider in Australia.
The genetic instructions for making the toxin were added to the fungus's own genetic code so it would start making the toxin once it was inside a mosquito.
"A spider uses its fangs to pierce the skin of insects and inject toxins, we replaced the fangs of spider with Metarhizium," Prof St Leger explained. (more…)
Journalist ‘no-platformed’ by GPs over Enoch Powell tweet
The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer's invitation to speak at its 2019 c..
The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer's invitation to speak at its 2019 conference after doctors complained about a tweet defending Enoch Powell.
Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the cancellation over her "highly controversial views".
Ms Hartley-Brewer said "Twitter offence archaeologists" were punishing her.
The RCGP said it "promotes inclusivity" and her views were "too much at odds" with its "core values".
Ms Hartley-Brewer had been expected to join a panel of guests in October for the conference being held in Liverpool.
But more than 700 people signed a petition calling for members of the RCGP to "boycott" her presence, noting her "controversial" views.
In a deleted tweet from 2016, Ms Hartley-Brewer said "Powell wasn't a racist" and referred to Tony Blair calling him "one of the great figures of 20th century British politics".
She also said: "I'm not defending Powell, I just don't see anything in the Rivers speech that he got wrong."
Enoch Powell was an MP most famous for his 1968 Rivers of Blood speech, where he said by permitting mass immigration the country was "heaping up its own funeral pyre".
Responding to the RCGP's decision for the Spectator, Ms Hartley-Brewer said she was "commenting on the accuracy of his predictions" about integration, rather than making a moral judgment which endorsed his views. (more…)
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