Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bird flu - mistakes made, and lessons to be learnt

Some interesting news from last week's meeting of Health ministers, where they discussed the reaction to the H1N1 (bird flu) pandemic and by all accounts concluded that by acting together the EU's Member States could have negotiated better terms with the pharmaceutical companies, rather than being picked off one by one with some countries even having to agree to accept all civil liabilities relating to the vaccine.

The Health ministers unanimously agreed to ask the Commission to develop a joint purchasing strategy for vaccines in the event of future pandemics and I fully applaud this move, which should help save money for already over-stretched health budgets in the future.

In the autumn, the European Parliament's environment and public health committee will be hosting a hearing on how the H1N1 pandemic was handled by European governments and what lessons can be learned for the future, where we will invite the Commission, the WHO, NGOs and pharmaceutical industry scientists. It promises to be a very interesting event.

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