Tuesday, 29 October 2013

"Going Beyond The New Directive"

A couple of weeks ago, this is what a government spokesman said of e-cigs following the very sensible rejection by the EU of medical licensing.
Earl Howe (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Quality), Health; Conservative) 
My Lords, [...] we are disappointed that the Commission’s proposal to regulate nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes, as medicines was not supported by the European Parliament. We believe that these products need to be regulated as medicines and we will continue to argue for this during further negotiations. 
It is undoubtedly true that we can never do enough to raise our game on smoking cessation measures, one of them being nicotine-containing products. 
My Lords, our position is clear: e-cigarettes should be regulated as medicines. These products need to be regulated for safety and quality, one of the reasons being that, as medicines, we can more effectively control their sale to children and the way that they are advertised and promoted. 
My noble friend is right. E-cigarettes certainly have the potential for being a force for good in helping smokers to quit. At the same time, we do not want them to become a gateway into smoking.
Just as an aside, this is indeed the same Earl Howe who happily references tobacco control propaganda denying that a single pub has closed because of the smoking ban; who was in favour of plain packaging of tobacco by the end of 2011 with his puppet-master Debs Arnott viewing from the gallery; and who held clandestine meetings with CRUK to discuss plain packs while the {cough} impartial consultation was still ongoing.

In short, he's firmly in the pocket of pharma lobbyists.

Yesterday, new Under-Secretary of State Jane Ellison revealed a little more about the government's approach to the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) including this on e-cigs.
We are currently considering the detailed amendments that the European Parliament would like to make. We were disappointed that the Parliament did not support the regulation of nicotine-containing products as medicines. We believe that the medicines regulatory regime, applied with a light touch, is the best fit for these products. Although I cannot say too much more about that now, we recognise that there is a lively ongoing debate on that subject, and it is one that we are engaged in.
Indeed they are. Because, you see, they didn't think the TPD was dictatorial enough!
We want member states to have the flexibility to make further progress on domestic tobacco control measures in certain key areas, potentially going beyond the new directive, and we have been helping to shape the final text of article 24 to try to achieve that as an objective.
Presumably this means striving to ensure that the MHRA - a body only last year described as "an organisation whose activities are entirely financed by a levy from the pharmaceutical industry" - are free to classify e-cigs as medicines regardless, and for the government to ignore half a million of its electorate (or 64% of those they consulted) by introducing evidence-free plain packaging.

Indeed, preserving this sovereign 'freedom' was precisely what motivated Ellison's predecessor Anna Soubry to usurp democratic parliamentary process by voting on the TPD without consulting the EU Scrutiny Committee as she was supposed to do back in the summer.

It doesn't seem to matter whether you're a smoker or a vaper, Howe, Ellison and their Department of Health chums will do pharma-backed tobacco control's bidding whatever you or the EU think.

It comes to something when our own government is more extreme, unaccountable and undemocratic than the EU, doesn't it?


Mark.S said...

Somebody will have to tell Sir Ian Gilmore.

Junican said...

The question that arises in my mind is, "Do these academics teach?" If they do not, by reason of spending their time doing studies, what are we paying them for?
This is really very, very important. If these academics do the studies in their own time, that is OK, but should they be financed at all to play games? It may be that their 'studies' are financed by Big Pharm, but we, the public, pay for the buildings that they use and the academic structure.
The misuse of public money is blatant, and I cannot understand why it is happening.

JonathanBagley said...

Most of them won't be teaching, or perhaps a small amount. Their jobs are funded from grants (taxpayers' money). I think the Sheffield rubbish channelled your taxes via the Dept of Health. I don't know why it is happening.

JonathanBagley said...

Magnificent rogering article Dick. Every aspiring rogerer could learn from it. Never mind ergonomic work stations, The School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield won't be sitting down for a while.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Oh he'll know all about the cock-ups and falsehoods, but he'll just ignore the as he's done before. ;)

keddaw said...

" it will be just one more example of the market taking care of things"

As much as I agree with the rest of the article, this line is at best a non sequitur and at worst a completely wrong and ignorant statement.

The market isn't pushing wine prices higher than the recommended minimum to reduce drinking, it is going higher because of more drinking (albeit worldwide). Not that price has as much of an impact on drinking as these loons would like people to believe, but still.