Smith Welcomes Stricter Information Rules On Prescription Medicines

24 November 2010
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed today's vote in the European Parliament on better access to high-quality information on prescription medicines. He hailed the final package which, compared to the original legislative proposal, was better-oriented towards the needs of patients, rather than just towards the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.
As a result of today's vote, pharmaceutical firms would have to provide official documents e.g. summary of product characteristics, package leaflet, assessment report, on their websites, or in printed form upon request, and could only provide other information based on quality criteria and subject to approval by the competent authorities or the European Medicines Agency. This means providing objective information on a drug's characteristics and the treated disease or condition, while preventing unsolicited information or disguised advertising.
Smith said:
"This new pharmaceutical legislation is good news and quite rightly puts patients' health and safety first and foremost. It will not only improve medicinal information available to patients but it will also combat disguised advertising.
"With no shortage of unverified, and sometimes simply false, information on medicines on the internet, having a clear point of reference for the public for accurate, unbiased information is a priority. Public authorities should be the point of reference for every citizen that wants more information about prescription medicines, not the industry.
"Parliament said a clear 'no' today to allowing industry to advertise about prescription medication in print media or to push any information onto patients. This is good news for Scotland and good news for the EU as a whole."