Open Medicine EU

I wrote a few times, most recently here, about payments for prescribing medical devices in Greece a few years ago. I see now on the website of the European Parliament a Written Question from Nessa Childers MEP on the subject, which reads as follows:

“Legal proceedings in the US(1) and in the UK have disclosed that, up to 2006, substantial payments amounting to millions of euros were made to medical personnel in Greece in return for prescribing certain medical devices, including hip and knee replacements.

During the period of these payments, certain orthopaedic devices were twice as expensive in Greece as compared to the average price across the other Member States.

These payments were likely to constitute a barrier to the free movement of goods in the single market and may have affected competition in a substantial part of the single market.

In view of the above:
1. What action, if any, has the Commission taken, or will it take, in the light of these disclosures?
2. How do price levels of orthopaedic medical devices in Greece currently compare with the overall EU average?
3. Are there any EU legal provisions prohibiting the provision of gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind to prescribers of medical devices, equivalent to the prohibition in Article 94 of Directive 2001/83/EC on medical products?
4. Does the Commission intend to include such a prohibition in the proposed regulations on medical devices and the repeal of Directives 90/385/EEC, 93/42/EEC and 98/79/EC?

(1) US Department of Justice (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/April/11-crm-446.html).”

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