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

Featured Stings

Destabilizing Lebanon after burning Syria; plotting putsch at home: King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

European Youth Forum celebrates 20 years of fighting for youth rights

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

Junior Enterprises as a solution for Youth Entrepreneurship

China and UK relations post Brexit as EU addresses Chinese takeovers

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan provokes the US and the EU by serving jihadists and trading on refugees

The banks want now free capital from taxpayers

What do Europeans believe about the crisis and the possible way out?

Tackling youth unemployment through the eyes of a European entrepreneur

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

Will Europe be able to deal with the migration crisis alone if Turkey quits the pact?

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

Manufacturers Get Smarter for Industry 4.0

It’s EU vs. Google for real: the time is now, the case is open

Elections results: Austerity’s black to prevail in the new multicolored German government

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Managers’ pay under fire

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

Failing to see reality or deceiving the masses? The EU about poverty and social exclusion

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

Can the Americans alone determine the future of Syria?

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

Is there a chance for the West to win the war on terror?

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

The challenges of mental health: an inconvenient reality

Rising political extremism in Europe escapes control

European Youth Forum demands immediate action & binding agreement on climate change

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Far from a healthy Health Workforce: lack of workforce planning leaves our citizens without access to proper care

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

Crimean crisis: not enough to slow down European indices

Access to health in the developped and developing world

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Indicator recovering losses

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: There is a new draft agreement on the negotiating table

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

Who threatens the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians?

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

At last a solid base for the European Banking Union

How Greece was destroyed

Will the European Court of Justice change data privacy laws to tackle terrorism?

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

Let the Italians have it their way, it may be good for all Eurozone

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

Berlin repels proposal for cheaper euro

Is the EU’s enlargement over-stretched?

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s