The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union has called for an exemption for health professionals from a proposed EU Directive that would see member states required to engage in an additional ‘proportionality test’ before implementing new regulations of professions.

The PGEU met with the Council of European Dentists and the Standing Committee of European Doctors at an 18 October meeting hosted by MEPs titled ‘Economics vs Health? An EU Proportionality Test for Health Professions’.

A broad consensus emerged to the effect that while the principle of proportionality is an important aspect of EU law and must be upheld, additional legislation in this area would not benefit the health professions, and could pose risks to healthcare. For example, CPME president Dr Jacques De Haller said, it could lead to ‘regulatory chill’, whereby states are hindered from regulating in the public interest.

PGEU president Rajesh Patel MBE said: “Health professions are subject to a proportionality assessment by competent authorities already now. Instead of introducing an additional layer of EU legislation, the European Commission should focus on enforcing the implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive where necessary.”

What is the Proportionality Directive?

The proposed Directive aims to assist freedom of movement between member states by ensuring that states’ regulations with regard to certain professions do not constitute unnecessary barriers to qualified people from other states joining those professions.

If implemented, member states would have to justify any new professional regulations at EU level, rather than at national level as happens currently.

A European Commission proposal paper from January cites a study suggesting that 700,000 more jobs “could be created in the EU through addressing unnecessary and disproportionate regulations.”

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