Taylor/Davies: Lib Dem MEPs will continue fight for availability of e-cigarettes

MEPs in the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee today voted to update the ten year old tobacco directive  including provisions to ban the use of ‘characterising flavours’ (such as  chocolate and menthol) and slim-style cigarettes which are designed to appeal to younger and/or female consumers to encourage them to take up smoking.

Apart from packaging and labelling, other provisions included ingredients, cross-border sales and traceability for the purposes of enforcing product safety standards.

Lib Dem European health spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor MEP welcomed the adoption of rules requiring that all cigarette packets in future should have health warnings covering at least 75% of the surface  to make packaging far less appealing to consumers  and discourage them from starting smoking. She said:

“One in two smokers dies as a direct result of their smoking and tobacco related diseases place a great burden on the NHS. Clear and visible  health warnings on cigarette packets  play a role in making tobacco less attractive, particularly to potential first time consumers, who are overwhelmingly young, as 94% of smokers start smoking before the age of 25. Continue reading

Taylor: EU steps up fight against cross-border health threats

MEPs in Strasbourg today adopted new EU rules to strengthen cross-border cooperation to tackle serious cross border health threats such as influenza, coronavirus and E-coli. 

As part of the strengthened cooperation framework, EU-wide health emergencies can be declared and a new voluntary mechanism will allow countries to club together to bulk-order vaccines. 

Rebecca Taylor, Lib Dem European health spokesperson commented:

“Europe needs to be better prepared against outbreaks of communicable diseases such as avian flu or swine flu, but also against other health threats which can spread across borders such as those of a chemical, biological or environmental origin. 

“The new rules mean that there will be more cooperation between EU countries in the planning, monitoring and response stages of tackling a health crisis. 

“EU countries remain responsible for putting wide-ranging action plans in place, but are required to undertake risk-assessment procedures in a transparent way and to coordinate their responses to avoid the chaos of the 2011 E-coli outbreak where different EU countries blamed different vegetables for the outbreak before the facts were properly established, which was very confusing for citizens.”

“The framework will also be linked to the veterinary sector as animal health and zoonotic infections have been a factor in many recent cross-border health threats.”

Taylor: Lib Dem MEPs back transparency in clinical trials data

Liberal Democrat MEPs in the Environment Committee today backed an important piece of legislation which will set the bar for transparency in medical research for years to come. The vote at committee stage on the Clinical Trials Regulation saw key amendments relating to transparency of clinical trial data adopted. This will require detailed clinical trial data on medicines to be published once the medicine is authorised.

Lib Dem European health spokesperson Rebecca Taylor MEP commented after the vote:

“Doctors should have access to vital safety and efficacy information on the medicines they prescribe to patients. In the past, that has not been the case. Today is the start of a sea change in data transparency that will lead to important clinical trial data being made publicly available as never before. 

While I believe that it is necessary to publish detailed data for authorised medicines, some flexibility should be allowed in relation to non-commercial (academic) clinical trials, in order to encourage research and innovation rather than create barriers. 

MEPs will now enter negotiations with national governments before a final vote on the legislation in the autumn.

For more information have a look at Rebecca’s blog.