EU Must Challenge Global Bullies

Most of us travel within Europe for work and holidays at some point during the year. What happens if you forget to take your prescribed medicines or your bag was lost by the airline, mislaid at a hotel, or stolen by some nasty thief?

Even though there are dozens and dozens of identical prescription medicines sold in the EU it is puzzling why it is tricky to get a replacement in another country without going to see a doctor, often an expensive and time-consuming experience.

It is even more puzzling when you consider that most of the commonly used drugs are produced by the big drug companies like Roche, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Merck Group, Allergan, UCB, Ipsen, Lundbeck. Together they control huge slice of the drugs industry in Europe…

One cannot help feeling that these giants (they are all very big companies) are able to enjoy higher profits by keeping the national markets as separate as possible and stopping the EU from joint drug procurement policies which seemed to work quite well for the Covid drugs used for vaccinations!

Given the success with Covid drugs, you would think that the EU’s muscular machine could have established a common system for prescription drugs but what they have put in place is rather weak and messy.

The EU has declared the following on their website page – here is the text:

”There is no specific form or format for a prescription you will use in another EU country. In most cases, the prescription you would use in the country where the prescription was issued should already contain enough information for you to use it in another EU country. It has to contain at least the following information:

  1. Patient details: surname and first name (both written in full), and date of birth
  2. Date of issue of the prescription
  3. Details of the prescribing doctor: surname and first name (written in full), professional qualification, direct contact details, work address (including the country), and signature (written or digital)
  4. Details of the prescribed product: its common name (rather than the brand name, which may be different in another country), format (tablet, solution, etc.), quantity, strength and dosage.

If you think you’ll need to get your prescription dispensed abroad, or if you are given a prescription abroad that you will need to get dispensed in your home country, check that the doctor has included all this information. That way you can be sure that a pharmacist in another EU country can easily understand the prescription and correctly identify the medicine you are requesting and its dose.

Then they give a funny warning – “The dispensation of prescriptions is subject to the rules of the country where they are dispensed. This means that a pharmacist will apply national rules when dispensing your medicine – for example, time or dosage limitations to dispensation of prescriptions. 

With such a massive organization and with huge resources we should be able to expect results which benefit us and not the lobbyists and their paymasters…

We should be demanding more rather than letting them spend €1.5 billion on a new second Parliament in France which nobody needs!

Graphics: Big Pharma on Campus by Mike Licht,

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