Magazine article European Social Policy

Advanced Therapies : Ethical Controversy Continues in Lead-Up to Key Vote on 25 April

Magazine article European Social Policy

Advanced Therapies : Ethical Controversy Continues in Lead-Up to Key Vote on 25 April

Article excerpt

The debate was lively prior to the vote on advanced medical therapies in the European Parliament on 25 April.

The legislation will make all the difference for a number of patients suffering from rare diseases who currently are not allowed to benefit from existing treatment. It is also vital for research, stressed the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry,aGunter Verheugen. He also welcomed the compromise package submitted by the Socialists, the Liberals and the European United Left, which he said "is acceptable for the Commission as is". The package confirms that ethical questions are the responsibility of member states. "The regulation must ensure that only safe medicines are allowed," said the commissioner. "There's no question of imposing ethical questions on anyone," at the risk of "creating different authorisations for different member states," he concluded.

But the rapporteur, Miroslav Mikola ik (EPP-ED, Slovakia), refused to change his position, taking care to limit the legislation to "non-controversial elements". For him, the compromise amendments were nothing more than a copy-paste' of the Commission's proposals and the results of an "individual action". Moreover, "agreement on these amendments was never reached after the informal trialogue with the other two institutions," he said, pointing out that they did not have the support of the three parliamentary committees involved nor himself.

As a reminder, his report included two amendments which were rejected by the Council and the Commission, which effectively threaten a whole area of medical research because they exclude the use of medicines derived from embryonic stem cells. …

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