HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc1087-8W
Mr. Hood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the outcome was of the Health Council held on 26 June; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [67732]

Mr. Hutton

I represented the UK at the Health Council in Luxembourg on 26 June 2002.

The Council debated the Commission's package of proposals for review of pharmaceutical legislation, covering the authorisation of medicinal products through a centralised authorisation procedure and the constitution of the management board of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA). No conclusions were reached.

During discussions of the framework convention on tobacco control, the Commission along with the incoming Danish presidency, urged member states to be flexible to allow the adoption of a strong European Union position for the next round of negotiations in Geneva in October. Some member states called for high level political input to seek to avoid adoption of a position that simply represented the lowest common denominator. The United Kingdom remains a supporter of a strong and effective convention.

Council conclusions on patient mobility were adopted; with the Commission expected to bring forward proposals during the Danish presidency.

The rest of the agenda covered the presentation of new dossiers or updates on the progress of current legislation. The Commission presented a draft directive on the safety of tissues and cells, to complement the current one on blood safety, as well as one on traditional medicines. There were also two recommendations: one on smoking prevention and tobacco control and another on the reduction of risks associated with drug dependence.

Details of these and other agenda items are set out in the table which will be placed in the Library. No votes were taken on any issue before the Council.