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MEPs demand more transparency from ‘expert’ groups

A committee of the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to address what it describes as conflicts of interest in the EU’s product risk assessments.

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has called on the Commission to “explore systemic safeguards” for avoiding conflicts of interest in product regulation, which makes use of expert groups, saying that the EU’s policy on establishing public-private partnerships between industry and academia conflicts with the need for regulators to be independent. 

The Commission should follow the example of the World Health Organization and establish a category of “invited specialists” for its expert groups, to enable them to draw on experts with “actual, potential or apparent” conflicts of interest while precluding these people from voting on or drafting expert group reports, the Committee said. However, it welcomed private-sector investment in research and development, and said that expertise is a “scarce resource which should not be made inaccessible to expert groups”. 

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