In its response AGE highlighted that information to patients but especially to all citizens is not only crucial but fundamental provided that it is clear, transparent, impartial and given by the relevant health actor: doctors, pharmacists, national health ministries, but not by pharmaceutical companies. As a network representing the largest consumers of prescription drugs, AGE sees a real public health danger as well as a risk of increased public spending, if direct-to-consumer advertisement is deregulated, as proposed in the Commission s consultation document.
In AGE’s view information provided by the pharmaceutical companies can never be objective, as one cannot be judge and party at the same time. AGE would like to know how the European Commission is aiming to keep the borderline between information and advertising.
AGE stated that if information to citizens on prescription medicines is to be harmonised, it should be approved by a European authority totally independent from the industry and controlled by a thorough mechanism which should enable to retrieve feedback on effect and side effects of medicines from the relevant health actors and patient organisations and make it accessible to all across the European Union. In our view an independent European Information Centre on medicines would bring a real added value.
The full AGE response can be retrieved below.