Pharmaceuticals spend millions to push TTIP while consumer groups spend peanuts

The CEO's report does not name Johnson & Johnson as the lobby champion of the sector. Instead, the logo of the company is placed at this story as the company has been nominated by Forbes the world's biggest pharmaceutical in 2015 (Forbes, June 2015)

CEO’s report does not name Johnson & Johnson as the lobby champion of the sector. Instead, the logo of the company is placed at this story as the company has been nominated by Forbes the world’s biggest pharmaceutical in 2015 (Forbes, June 2015)

While the EU is dramatically exposed to an unprecedented migration crisis, a new report by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reveals something that is destined to be largely discussed in the immediate future. The Brussels-based, non-profit research and campaign group, whose aim is to expose any effects of corporate lobbying on EU policy making, last week published a new report on the considerable increase on the Pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying budgets during the last few years.

The CEO’s report does not name Johnson & Johnson as the lobby champion of the sector. Instead, the logo of the company is placed at this story as the company has been nominated by Forbes the world’s biggest pharmaceutical in 2015 (Forbes, June 2015)

A “dramatic” increase

CEO’s report indeed shows how European pharmaceutical trade groups have increased their reported spending on lobbying by 235% over the past three years. The pharmaceutical industry reportedly spends at least 40 million euros annually in this moment, which represents around 15 times more than NGOs, consumer groups and “civil society actors working on public health or access to medicines”, according to the report.

Moreover, the report shows that “Big Pharma” enjoyed a substantial number of meetings with European Commission departments and officials. For example, the report shows that a very influential EU pharmaceutical trade association, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), had over 50 meetings with the Juncker’s Commission during its first four and a half months in office. CEO’s report also underlines that EFPIA, whose lobbying expenditure has gone “from €50,000 in 2010 to more than €5m last year”, plays a “covert and explicit role in shaping the policy agenda”, by allegedly sending lobbyists in a “personal capacity to sit in on the Commission’s expert groups”.

EFPIA’s clear reply

As expected, EFPIA’s reply was no less clear-cut. “EFPIA is committed to transparency with regard to its activities”, the group responded in an official statement. “EFPIA has declared a spend of Euro 5,071,000 in 2014, on activities covered by the Transparency Register. This figure is an increase on the previous year due to the fact that the reporting requirements have changed”. Within the same statement the group alleges that against the huge numbers of the pharmaceutical industry’s business in Europe (707,000 people employed in the old continent, combined exports of around Euro 300 billion, € 30.5 billion on R&D invested annually) an estimated spend on engagement activities of €40 million, would be “by no means excessive”.

Road to trade agreements

The study not only concentrates on the consistent investments of the pharmaceutical trade groups on lobbying over the last few years, but also examines some other key channels in the EU and brings to light some examples of EU law and policies that have been targeted, at least, or even “shaped by the industry”. A magic word here immediately says it all to the reader: TTIP.

“‘Big pharma’ has put major lobby efforts into the ongoing negotiations of the EU-US trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)”, the report claims. According to the report’s editor, the pharmaceutical industry in the Old Continent is using TTIP as an opportunity to “entrench longer monopoly periods, higher medicine prices, and more ‘new’ medicines with limited therapeutic value”. “Bilateral trade agreements like TTIP provide the pharma lobby an opportunity to bolster IPR [intellectual property] protections and lengthen the period of market exclusivity for its products” is the heavy statement of CEO within their report.

A long and detailed story

Actually this is not the first time that research and campaign groups like CEO focus on the gigantic EU-US trade agreement. Indeed, a report published less than two months ago by the Brussels-based group with the title “TTIP: a corporate lobbying paradise” brought to light some interesting figures.

CEO reports that European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, during her first six months of mandate, had 121 one-on-one private lobby meetings in which TTIP was discussed along with her Cabinet and the Director General of DG Trade. Moreover, according to CEO’s reporters (which have published online their sources and how they gathered the data for their study), when preparing the mandate for the negotiations on TTIP, (January 2012 to February 2014), the European Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had “597 behind-closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations”.

1 in 10

The report says that 528 of those meetings (88%) were with “business lobbyists”, while only 53 (9%) were with public interest groups. “In total, DG Trade met 288 lobby groups in the early phase of the TTIP talks – 250 of them from the private sector”, CEO reporters state. So basically, “for every meeting with a trade union or consumer group, there were 10 with companies and industry federations,” underlines CEO.

A matter of handshakes

All in all, it is well-known how lobbying is a big business in Brussels, and how agreements see the light only through handshakes and mutual interests. Also, it is always very important to keep in mind all of the players’ interests and scopes. CEO’s aim is to “expose the power of corporate lobbying in the EU” and this, sometimes, may sound more like an ideology than a goal.

However, the above numbers, figures and stories are an open window to some disquieting panorama. A call for transparency, when interests are huge as risks for the European citizens are, is important like never before. The fact that the number of European politicians and Members of the European Parliament who have joined campaigners in calling for greater transparency in TTIP negotiations shows that the question is really hot.

EFPIA Director General Richard Bergström, in response to CEO’s report, said: “The CEO report shows that the EU transparency rules are working, albeit not perfectly – otherwise CEO would have nothing to write about”, which may be true. “For me as EFPIA DG, I am happy to see EFPIA working effectively with EU institutions on key healthcare issues that matter to patients”, he added.

Well, this is simply our biggest hope and concern at the same time, whereas many are worried that in this moment it’s simply easier to spot monopoly privileges granted by governments for the big pharmaceutical companies  than patients’ poor access to medicines.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

These are the cities with the biggest carbon footprints

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

Europe must regain its place as world leader in digital technology

A day in the life of a refugee: why should we care?

The financial crisis always prefers the south of Eurozone

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

European Youth, quo vadis?

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

US-North Korea summit ‘an important milestone’ towards denuclearization, says Guterres

Will Western Balkans respond positively to EU initiatives?

Recession: the best argument for growth

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Early signs of growth in Eurozone?

Draghi to hold on zero interest rates until he leaves ECB

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

Greece will probably stay in the Eurozone but at what cost?

Putin becomes the ‘perfect enemy” for the West

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

Walk, cycle, dance and play – UN health agency recommends new action plan for good health

Who will win the AI race? If countries work together, then the answer could be all of us

Tsipras imposes more austerity on insolvent Greece; plans to win new early election soon

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

G20 LIVE: “This was not an attack against France, this was an attack against the universal human values!”, EU President Juncker cries out from G20 in Antalya Turkey

CHINA UNLIMITED. PEOPLE UNLIMITED. RESTRICTIONS LIMITED

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

“Airbnb and YouTube are two great examples of a crowd based capitalism”, key stakeholders outline the boundaries of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Davos

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

‘True’ peace, requires standing up for human rights, says UN chief Guterres

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

Spending another 3 billion euros on Turkey feels better than admitting EU’s failure

A Sting Exclusive: “EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan – Laying down the foundations for a Greener Financial System”, by European Commission’s Vice-President Dombrovskis

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

Draghi reveals how failing banks will be dealt, may cut interest rates soon

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ford trumpets new in-vehicle system, “fundamentally rethinks” transportation

The EU invites the US and Russia to partition Ukraine

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Cyprus tragedy reveals Eurozone’s arbitrary functioning

How will the EU face the migration crisis when the Turkish threats come true?

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Building a Sustainable Future – speech by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw at the LPAA Thematic Event on Buildings

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

Drowning in the Mediterranean this summer? Many happy returns

Germany takes cover from Trump in Eurozone and decides to pay for it

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

EU voters not interested in the European Parliament elections. What’s behind this European Titanic?

The Changing Scope of International Economic Relations – Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century

Why European manufacturing SMEs in the South face fatal dangers

EU’s Bank signs € 150 million loan to India as part of record investment in clean energy

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s