Childers: Govt need to know how to put foot down

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is being urged to bring forward draft legislation on lobbying transparency, in the wake of major pressure on the government from the pharmaceutical sector.

Earlier this year, the government bowed to lobbying from up to 20 multinationals and reversed a HSE decision not to approve new drugs for payment.

The Taoiseach had received letters from pharmaceutical companies warning that government efforts to bring down the price of medicines could have "unintended consequences" for the industry.

But speaking in Strasbourg, Labour MEP Nessa Childers urged her government colleagues not to put the interests of big business before public health concerns.

“You could say that people have the right to lobby but we have the right not to listen. I will say to Enda Kenny and James Reilly that this is a public health issue and we should be listening to these kind of threats.

“It’s very common for large industries to do it and you have got to learn to put your foot down.”

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