A Patently Reasonable Approach to Addressing Pharmaceutical Prices

We seem to be at an impasse when it comes to getting the prices of prescription drugs under control for patients while at the same time fostering innovation. This need not be the case.

The left and the right have their own ideological approaches, none of which will advance given current political reality. Progress will only come in the form of bipartisan, good-government reforms that make the system more fair and predictable.

Both parties can work together to lower drug prices while protecting innovation. We can achieve this through rational approaches, including more transparency around pharmacy benefit managers; the continued streamlining of approvals for generic biologics (also known as biosimilars); and maintaining the delicate balance between incentivizing innovation while fostering lower prices through the entry of generic drugs to the market.

At the heart of most calls for lower drug prices is some form of government intervention requiring innovators to charge less for the medicine that their investments financed. Like waving a magic wand, some would like the government to simply mandate lower prices. But to think that such a move wouldn’t stifle innovation in the already expensive and risky field of drug research and development would require, well, magical thinking.

The financial driver of pharmaceutical R&D investment is the promise that if the drug receives Food and Drug Administration approval, a manufacturer will be able to market it exclusively for a period of time at the price it chooses, without generic competition. After the patent expires, generic drugs serve to reduce drug prices dramatically.

As Sen. Orrin Hatch’s remarkable career in the Senate came to a close at the end of the year, he introduced legislation, the Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act, which will protect the delicate balance created in his 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act that paved the way for a robust marketplace for generics while still protecting innovation through strong patent rights.

In 2011, when technology patent trolls were wreaking havoc in the tech world, Congress, in an effort to protect true innovators, created a patent adjudication process called inter partes review, where patents could be challenged by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

When creating IPR, Congress didn’t intend to upset the Hatch-Waxman apple cart. It intended to create a streamlined process to challenge technology patents, an area not governed by Hatch-Waxman.

But because IPR can also be used by drug patent challengers, the process inadvertently created a form of double jeopardy, allowing pharmaceutical patent challengers to try their hand in two separate venues: both the federal court, as well as in PTAB’s IPR. The use of both adjudication forums not only raises fairness questions, it drives up the cost of branded medicines through unnecessary legal costs and greater uncertainty about the patent life of a drug.

Since 2011, not only have pharmaceutical innovators had to defend their patent in two different venues, a scenario not intended under the delicate balance created by Hatch-Waxman, but the legal standards in each forum differ significantly. For instance, in federal court, there is a presumption that a patent is valid, whereas in IPR, there’s a presumption a patent is not valid.

The Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act introduced recently k wouldn’t synthesize standards between venues, nor would it prevent drug patent challengers from using IPR (as might have been wise to do when IPR was created). However, it would require challengers to pick their legal venue — and stick to it.

The proposal would restore the delicate balance between promoting innovation and fostering generics. As Hatch explained on Dec. 11th, this proposal is necessary to ensure “that newer, alternative procedures for challenging drug patents do not give one side an unintended advantage.”

Tweaks of this type are ideologically neutral and, as such, fail to satisfy partisans on both sides who seek to use the issue for political gain. But if the success of the original Hatch-Waxman Act is any indicator, it is just what the doctor ordered.

Jeff Stier is a senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

mm

About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Warum sollen Arme Zölle auf Medikamente zahlen?

Aufgrund fehlender Rahmenbedingungen und mangelnder Infrastruktur kommen oft gespendete Medikamente und Impfstoffe erst gar nicht bei Patienten an.

Zeitgleich zum Weltwirtschaftsforum trifft sich Ende Januar unweit von Davos in Genf der geschäftsführende Vorstand der Weltgesundheitsorganisation. Erschütternde Nachrichten über erneute Ebola-Fälle aus dem Kongo sollten vermuten lassen, dass es sich bei diesem Vorstandstreffen hauptsächlich um die effektive Bekämpfung dieser schrecklichen Seuche drehen wird.

Hilfsmitarbeiter haben teilweise ihre Arbeit im Kongo ruhen lassen müssen, da es Gewalt und Übergriffe auf sie gab. Gleichzeitig wurden Regionalwahlen in zwei Provinzen verschoben, was mit der anhaltenden Ebola Epidemie begründet wurde, aber von vielen Menschen als politisches Manöver gegen die Opposition wahrgenommen wurde. Dies sorgte für zusätzliche Unruhen und macht die Arbeit von internationalen Hilfskräften noch schwerer. In solchen Situationen ist auf die geballte Kraft der Weltgesundheitsorganisation und deren UN Mandat zu hoffen.

Doch der 2017 gewählte und amtierende Generaldirektor, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hat zu häufig andere Prioritäten als die akute Bekämpfung von ansteckenden Viren. Der ehemalige äthiopische Außenminister zeigt offen seine ideologisch motivierten Vorstösse im Kampf gegen nichtübertragbare Krankheiten (englisch: non communicable disease oder NCD), wie zum Beispiel Videospielsucht. Erst letzten Sommer machte die WHO Schlagzeilen mit der Anerkennung von Videospielsucht (gaming disorder) als Krankheit.

Während Videospiele hoffentlich nicht die Agenda des nächsten Vorstandstreffens füllen werden, besteht die Gefahr, dass deutlich mehr über nationale Gesundheitspolitik gesprochen wird als die internationale Bekämpfung globaler Seuchen. So stehen große Teile der Agenda im Lichte der sogenannten Access to Medicines Roadmap, die sich zwar zum Ziel setzt den Zugang zu Medikamenten weltweit zu verbessern, aber hauptsächlich Regierungen vorschlägt private Gesundheitsunternehmen zu enteignen und deren geistiges Eigentum ohne oder zu deutlich geringeren Lizenzgebühren zu verwenden. So spricht sich die WHO für verpflichtende Lizenzen an lokale Generikaproduzenten aus, die es erlauben die bestehenden Patente von forschenden Pharmafirmen zu ignorieren.

Während die WHO also der forschenden Privatwirtschaft den Kampf erklärt, verschweigt sie die eigentlichen Probleme, mit denen Patienten in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern ringen.

Misswirtschaft und Korruption sorgen in diesen Ländern oft für eine schlechte oder sogar desolate Verteilung von bereits knappen Finanzmitteln im Gesundheitssektor. Anstelle Krankenhäuser zu modernisieren und die einfachsten aber notwendigen Materialien und Medikamente vorrätig zu haben, verschwinden sowohl Steuergelder als auch internationale Hilfszahlungen in den Koffern von korrupten Politikern und Mitarbeitern.

Aufgrund fehlender Rahmenbedingungen und mangelnder Infrastruktur kommen oft gespendete Medikamente und Impfstoffe erst gar nicht bei Patienten an. Von einem führenden Pharmamanager habe ich einmal gehört, dass seine Branche volle Warenhäuser mit AIDS-Medikamenten in mehreren afrikanischen Ländern hätte, diese aber leider nicht an die Patienten liefern könne. Gründe dafür liegen bei mangelnden Kühlketten, schlechten Straßen, aber auch korrupter Strassenpolizei und Übergriffen auf Ärzte.

Dies sind einige Punkte auf die sich die WHO konzentrieren könnte, falls sie wirklich effektiv das Patientenwohl steigern wolle. Zwei weitere, noch schneller wirksame, Maßnahmen wäre die einseitige Abschaffung von Mehrwertsteuern und Einfuhrzölle auf Medikamente. Besonders Schwellenländer wie China, Brasilien und Russland erheben oft hohe Zölle auf innovative Medikamente. So geht der Ökonom Matthias Bauer beispielsweise davon aus, dass chinesische Patienten über 5,5 Milliarden Euro durch die Abschaffung von Zöllen auf importierte Arznei sparen könnten. In Indien und Brasilien würde Freihandel die Medikamentenpreise fast halbieren.

Die oft finanzstarken Pharmaunternehmen könnten wichtig Partner in der Erschließung von benötigter Infrastruktur in diesen Ländern werden. Daher sollte die Weltgesundheitsorganisation solche Firmen nicht als Buhmann für Versäumnisse staatlicher Akteure ausmachen, sondern eher die wirklichen Gründe für schlechte Gesundheitssysteme und mangelnde Versorgung ausmachen: Korruption, Bürokratie und Protektionismus.

Während der Abbau von Korruption sicherlich ein langer Prozess ist, lassen sich Zölle einseitig und schnell abschaffen. Dies bedarf meist nur eines Erlasses des jeweiligen Landes. Ein schnelleres Zulassungsverfahren und ein einfacher Import von Medikamenten sind weitere Schritte die den Preis senken und Patienten einfacheren Zugang geben.

Originally published at https://www.huffingtonpost.de/entry/warum-sollen-arme-zolle-auf-medikamente-zahlen_de_5c2e7106e4b04aa0a171b8df?ec_carp=5153505921210605257

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Huge disparities in European breast cancer care shown by new index

With nearly 100,000 women lose their life to breast cancer every year in the European Union it is the most lethal cancer diagnosis for women in the EU.

And while health systems of the 28 different Member States have made progresses in providing better care, chances of early diagnosis and state of the art treatment depends heavily on where a patient lives.

The recently launched Breast Cancer Index illustrates very well on disparities in breast cancer care across the continent. While Northern European countries rank usually in the top 20% of this index, Eastern and Southern Europe’s health systems seem to provide less advanced care in the field of breast cancer.

All of the three Benelux countries can be found in the top six of this index including all 28 EU Member States. Sweden, Austria, and Germany are the other three countries in the top six. These are followed by the other two northern EU Members Finland and Denmark.

And Italy’s very heterogeneous health system lands a 9th rank in this new index, treatment outcomes vary a lot depending on which part of Italy a patient seeks care. Traditionally the health system of for instance the region of Lombardia is worlds apart from care infrastructure in the south of Italy. And while France’s health system is often ranked best globally by the World Health Organization it merely makes it on the 10th spot in this EU ranking.

Greece, Croatia, Latvia, and Hungary mark the last five ranks of the index and illustrate the strong North/West to South/East divide of breast cancer care in the EU. The index’ methodology focuses on indicators such access to screening, preventive measures, palliative care offers, medical specialists, outcomes like survival rates, the quality of cancer registries, and the populations’ lifestyle.

Looking at the top-ranked countries one can conclude that health systems which allow competition between providers both inpatient and outpatient seem to have a higher standard of breast cancer care.


  • Breast Cancer Index 2018

Sweden’s successful tobacco harm reduction strategies have not only lead to by far the lowest smoking rates in the EU but also helped to get to the top of this ranking. And while the UK’s (acknowledging that is has several regional systems) centralized NHS is successful in maintaining high quality registries it falls short in focusing on individual cases and offering speedy treatments. 

Most Central & Eastern European countries saw economic growth over 3% in the last couple of years and while this also resulted in higher absolute healthcare spending it did not necessarily outpace the general GDP growth which would be necessary in order to bridge the gap in care compared to the ranking’s front runners.

The access to innovative medicine and government’s willingness to cover innovative medicine or at least allow private funding mechanism is not looked at by this index. If one would look at the time lags between the introduction and reimbursement of lifesaving innovative medicines in some of the index’ front runners and its poorest performers it is likely to assume that these results would correlate with most of what the index already shows.

This should put policymakers in the second half of the index’ ranks into a position to ask themselves how to tackle this massive problem of deficiencies in breast cancer care. At times of government austerity and debt crises in the Mediterranean one proven policy option would be to allow public private partnerships or fully private solutions that enable patients to purchase a top up coverage closing the gap between their home country’s level of care and what’s recommended by European guidelines.

Portugal has been experimenting with such new models that allow a better access to innovative medicines in care care. And while the country ranks 23rd on the overall index it is at a respectable 6th place when solely looking at outcomes and survival rates.

Policy innovations and more involvement of the private sector in improving care and funding of care are needed in order to successfully combat the notion that cancer equals a death diagnosis.

Originally published at https://www.vocaleurope.eu/huge-disparities-in-european-breast-cancer-care-shown-by-new-index/

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Both parties can work together to lower drug prices

Healthcare was a key issue for voters in the split-decision midterm elections. So are we in for more partisan divide and no progress? Not necessarily. We simply need to reframe the debate to find common ground.

The Democrat-controlled House won’t consider Obamacare repeal, and the Republican Senate won’t consider Medicare for all. But there are ways to make constructive changes without relying on ideologically charged policies which can’t advance in this environment.

There’s widespread agreement that patients should pay less for prescription drugs. Even as innovative drugs prevent or slow the progression of disease and reduce expenses such as hospital costs, patients and politicians alike are clamoring for lower drug prices.

Many on the Left seek to wave a magic wand and lower prices through government intervention with little regard to how this would discourage life-saving and money-saving innovation. Last month, even the Trump administration proposed dusting off an old and innovation-killing approach which would base some prices paid by Medicare on what other countries pay.

Meanwhile, legislators on the Right who ignore the prices their constituents pay for drugs risk losing their own congressional healthcare plan after their next election. Yet addressing the issue doesn’t require abandoning principles.

While there’s no one magic bullet that would make prescription drugs more affordable for patients, there has been increased scrutiny of the role of middle men known as pharmacy benefit managers. PBMs themselves have rapidly evolving incentives. No longer are they simply independent price-negotiators. Following two recent mergers, all major PBMs are now part of the health insurance industry.

J.C. Scott, the new president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the PBM industry’s trade group, recently told Politico’s Prescription Pulse that his top priority was simply making sure that people understand what pharmacy benefit managers do.

So what do they do? When PBMs negotiate on behalf of insurance companies, are they playing a crucial role in containing medical costs for patients? Or are they so conflicted, because they take a share of rebates offered by pharmaceutical companies, that they are incentivized to keep prices high?

To know, we’ll need more transparency through the entire supply chain, to show whether consumers are in fact benefiting from PBM’s negotiations.

Lawmakers across the country have begun addressing the lack of transparency around PBMs and its effects on patients. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Tina Smith, D-Minn., sent lettersto nine PBMs to determine how they are approaching drug pricing rebates. This probe is accompanying more than 90 bills nationwide that are focused on PBMs and their opaque role in the drug supply chain.

Time will tell if patients will actually see the savings that PBMs supposedly generate. The three largest PBMs, all linked to insurers, collectively control nearly 80 percent of the market, meaning that millions of Americans are affected by the decisions they make in negotiating prices for various drugs. Will pharmaceutical price-reductions lead to lower prices for patients? We’ll need transparency from PBMs and health insurers to understand how a reduction in what pharmaceutical companies charge for a drug translates into lower costs for patients at the pharmacy.

PBMs’ defenders maintain that drug prices would be even higher without their role as go-betweens. The recent dramatic price cuts for some drugs put that idea to the test. PBMs can prove their value — or lack thereof — by moving quickly to pass these price reductions along to patients.

Surely, drug companies seeking to remove the targets from their backs in exchange for lowering drug prices will be watching the PBMs’ next moves very closely. So should consumers.

Jeff Stier is a senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center

Originally published at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/both-parties-can-work-together-to-lower-drug-prices

mm

About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts.

Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

The healthcare system is a racket — direct primary care could fix it

Everyone has a healthcare horror story.

A hidden charge on the hospital bill. A last minute test or scan that ends up costing four figures. Hours spent on the phone with insurance companies to follow up on a claim and get a reimbursement. Prescriptions costing hundreds of dollars.

And it’s getting more expensive.

Since 2007, the cost of healthcare has risen 21.6 percent, while all other prices in the economy have risen by just 17.3 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s become an unfortunate reality for many, and it’s been rightly pushed into the arena of politics.

But despite the well-intended reforms of the past two decades, including the Affordable Care Act, millions are still feeling the pinch. Why?

Too often, talk of healthcare reform is focused on insurance rather than care. It’s less about how the doctor treats your family and more about who foots the bill. Almost no one can get a straight answer about the price of procedures or medicines.

Medical insurance, once a simple way to cover higher-than-normal expenses, has become a catch-all for almost all health spending. It’s no longer about surprise injuries and illnesses. Insurance is now used to cover every ache, pain, anxiety, pill, and more. It’s like using car insurance to cover every oil change, new windshield wiper, or tire.

And in order to recoup the amount they give out, insurance companies must price their options accordingly, which leads to higher prices for consumers. That’s why healthcare expenses in 2016 amounted to 17.8 percent of GDP, higher than any other industrialized country.

At least one new doctor-patient arrangement is promising a revolution in consumer choice by bypassing insurance altogether. It’s called direct primary care, and it’s catching on across the country.

Rather than relying on insurance for ordinary health expenses, these new doctor clinics rely on monthly fees from patients, usually less than $100.

If anything more is required during doctor visits, the prices for every service and test are transparent and don’t vary depending on your plan. By not accepting insurance of any type, each clinic saves on administrative costs and overhead, prioritizing patients over costly insurers.

The results are just as intended: lower costs, more preventive care, and more face time with medical professionals.

I first learned about direct primary care when searching for a new doctor that would be flexible and affordable for my situation.

Luckily enough, I found one within driving distance in Charlotte, N.C., after consulting the mapmaintained by DPC Frontier, an online resource for direct primary care patients.

After one quick phone call, the physical was scheduled. Because the doctor wasn’t rushed to see dozens of patients, thanks to the monthly subscription model he maintains for patients, he took his time and answered every question I had. In case I needed to have anything more done, the prices for procedures, tests, and more were clearly published on his website.

Then, the bill for the simple visit was paid before I left. There was no insurance follow-up, no co-pay, and no need to file any additional paperwork. It was as if I was paying the doctor for providing the service directly, rather than the dozens of middlemen required in the current insurance racket.

But this was just a simple doctor’s visit. What would happen if I had a serious injury or disease?

Here’s what my doctor recommended: Take out a high-deductible health insurance policy intended for disasters and emergencies, and sign-up for a monthly direct primary care plan. That way, you’re covered in extreme circumstances with the high-deductible plan, but can also have preventive care with the doctor’s visits at the direct primary care clinic.

Seeing that in action was indeed refreshing. As a patient, I was empowered to own and control my own healthcare spending. And as a doctor, he was freed from bureaucracy to focus on his patients.

Whether direct primary care will be the answer to all problems remains to be seen.

Of course, chronic ailments and complicated procedures will still be of concern. Those who cannot afford the monthly fees may not be able to participate. But there is at least some momentum to open up this type of patient-doctor relationship to everyone.

For people with health savings accounts offered by employers, a bill passed by the House over the summer would allow account holders to use their health accounts on direct primary care subscriptions. It currently awaits a vote in the Senate.

A similar bill sits in the House Ways and Means Committee, presumably waiting for Congress to return from campaigning in their home districts to move it forward.

If our politicians want to try to reform healthcare, the answer may lie in empowering patients and doctors to contract on their own.

Considering there is a nationwide movement of doctors looking to free themselves from insurers, and endorsements from organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, it’s worth taking another look at direct primary care.

Yaël Ossowski is an economic journalist and deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center based in Washington, D.C.

Originally published at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-healthcare-system-is-a-racket-direct-primary-care-could-fix-it

mm

About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Das Spiel mit Desinformation

Das österreichische Forschungsportal “Addendum” hat im Juli ein Video über die Fakten von genmanipulierten Lebensmitteln veröffentlicht. Genetisch veränderte Lebensmittel stehen weiterhin unter Kritik, besonders von Organisationen wie Greenpeace. Dass Addendum-Video zeigt die unangenehme Realität der Umweltorganisation, die mit Desinformation Spendengelder einfährt.

Wer sich der Illusion hingegeben hat, dass Organisationen wie Greenpeace echte Umweltschützer sind, die sich für die Verbesserung der menschlichen Gesundheit und der biologischen Vielfalt einsetzen, wird einen schweren Schock nach dem Anschauen dieser Dokumentation erleiden. Sebastian Theissing-Matei, Sprecher von Greenpeace in Österreich, gab folgende Antworten:

Interviewer: “Im Bioland kann ich Sorten kaufen, die mit radioaktiver Strahlung oder Chemikalien erzeugt wurden. Ist das in sich logisch, das eine zu erlauben und das andere zu verteufeln?”

Theissing-Matei: “Das ist tatsächlich eine gewisse Unschärfe und ist historisch gewachsen – muss man ganz ehrlich so sagen.”

Interviewer: “Müsste Greenpeace nicht auch gegen diverse Apfelsorten kämpfen, die es im Bioladen gibt und die radioaktiv erzeugt wurden?”

Theissing-Matei: “Wie gesagt das sind Sorten, die historisch schon viel länger existiert haben. Das ist eine gewisse Unschärfe in dem Recht, ganz sicher. Wir konzentrieren uns natürlich immer auf das, was gerade als politische Debatte ansteht, und gerade da ist. Und derzeit ist das eben die politische Debatte, ob diese neuen gentechnischen Methoden auch unter Gentechnikrecht gestellt werden sollen […].”

Interviewer: “Aber sollte sich die Argumentation von Greenpeace nicht an den realen Gegebenheiten, sprich Gefahren oder Nicht-Gefahren, möglichen Nutzen orientieren, und nicht nur an dem was gerade in den Medien diskutiert wird?”

Theissing-Matei: “Wir sind eine politische Organisation, und wir versuchen natürlich immer im besten Interesse, vor allem der Umwelt zu agieren und momentan ist die politische Debatte eben, ob diese neuen gentechnischen Methoden unter Gentechnikrecht gestellt werden oder nicht.”

In vielen Ländern könnte die Aussage dass man als politische Organisation agiert öffentliche Gelder gefährden, doch Greenpeace hat sich mehr oder weniger konsequent geweigert, Zuschüsse von Regierungen (einschließlich der Europäischen Union) anzunehmen. Es muss allerdings darauf hingewiesen werden, dass die Umweltorganisation insbesondere in Europa finanzielle Unterstützung von grünen politischen Parteien erhalten hat, die ihrerseits teilweise vom Staat finanziert werden.

Was die politische Debatte betrifft, die der österreichische Greenpeace-Sprecher anspricht, so ist es interessant, diese Aussage ausgerechnet von Greenpeace zu hören. Bereits 1996 protestierte Greenpeace gegen die Ankunft eines Transportschiffes im Hamburger Hafen, das “die erste Ladung gentechnisch veränderter Sojabohnen in Deutschland” enthielt. Der Protest zeigte damals Wirkung: Der damalige Bundesforschungsminister forderte die Hersteller auf, alle ihre genetisch veränderte Lebensmittel zu kennzeichnen. Dass überhaupt über das Thema gesprochen wird liegt an Greenpeace, und da Greenpeace nur über die Themen spricht die auch besprochen werden, sind ihnen scheinbar bei der Themenwahl die Hände gebunden. Bei Greenpeace funktionieren die selbsterfüllenden Prophezeiungen scheinbar gut.

Auf jeden Fall ist es eine Sache, sich 1996 gegen gentechnisch veränderte Lebensmittel zu stellen, als 20 Jahre später. Die kürzlich von vom Wissenschaftsmagazin “Nature” veröffentlichte Meta-Analyse zu gentechnisch verändertem Mais auf agronomische, ökologische und toxikologische Eigenschaften zeigt deutlich, dass Insekten, die sich nicht von Mais ernähren, nicht betroffen sind und dass gentechnisch veränderter Mais deutlich geringere Konzentrationen an krebserregenden Mykotoxinen aufweist. Aber für Greenpeace zählen wissenschaftliche Beweise nicht, sondern nur wie viele Spendengelder man mit Angstmacherei akquirieren kann. Das bestätigt auch der ehemalige Greenpeace-Aktivist Ludger Wess, der als einer der ersten Journalisten in Europa über die aufstrebende Biotechnologie- und Hightech-Industrie berichtet:

“Greenpeace war am Anfang der Gentechnik bei Pflanzen und in der Landwirtschaft durchaus aufgeschlossen, weil man gesagt hat: Wenn es stimmt dass die Pflanzen gegen die Schädlinge resistent machen kann, dann ist das eine tolle Sache da man dadurch Insektizide einspart, also sind wir dafür.

Nach der Rückkehr von einer Wissenschaftskonferenz über gentechnisch veränderten Mais im Jahr 1998 wandte sich Wess wieder an Greenpeace:

“Ich kam dann zurück, bewaffnet mit einem Koffer voller Papiere, und hatte sehr viele Gespräche geführt mit Behördenmitarbeitern und mit Wissenschaftlern, und die haben meine Befürchtungen allesamt entkräften können und ich war danach nicht mehr davon überzeugt, dass da eine Gefahr für die menschliche Gesundheit besteht.”

Ich hab dann gesagt: Also wir können diese Behauptung dass es möglicherweise gesundheitsschädlich ist, nicht aufrecht erhalten, es stimmt einfach nicht. Und dann wurde mir gesagt: Naja, wir behaupten das trotzdem weiter, weil nur wenn die Leute Angst um ihre Gesundheit haben, oder die Gesundheit ihrer Kinder haben, dann geht das Spendenportmonnaie auf. Alles andere ist nicht kampagnenfähig.”

Greenpeace hat in der Vergangenheit mehr Interesse an Öffentlichkeitsarbeit als an konstruktiven Diskussionen gezeigt. Sei es das gewaltsame Blockieren von Tankstellen in Luxemburg, die aggressive Störung der Arbeit einer Ölplattform oder gar die Lackierung des Kreisverkehrs an der Berliner Siegessäule, die Schäden an Autos und Tausende von Euros für Reinigungskosten verursacht hat: Greenpeace ist eine aufmerksamkeitssüchtige, anti-wissenschaftliche Aktivistengruppe, die die Umwelt als Vorwand benutzt, um ihre uninformierte Voreingenommenheit gegen alles zu propagieren, was der menschlichen Gesundheit und Ernährung einen Nutzen sein könnte.

Die derzeitigen Geldgeber dieser Organisation müssen sich die Frage stellen, ob sie diese (selbst-beschriebene) politische Organisation unterstützen wollen, der Fakten mehr als egal sind.

Originally published at https://www.theeuropean.de/bill-wirtz/14656-greenpeace

mm

About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

The case for defunding the WHO

COMMENT CENTRAL: Bill Wirtz believes there is no need for taxpayers to be continuously patronised by WHO health experts. It’s time to defund the WHO.

READ MORE

mm

About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Five reasons to rethink Britain’s public health spending

By Fred Roeder and Chloe Westley

With a combined budget of over 100 million pounds, taxpayers in the United Kingdom are some of the largest contributors to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) budget. Britain also spends nearly 1 billion pounds on various other bilateral public health initiatives around the globe. Unfortunately, many of these projects are not improving people’s health or dealing with global pandemics. Instead, this money is wasted on inflated and decadent bureaucracies and ideological projects.

READ MORE

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost.

Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines.

In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market.

Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries.

Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian.

Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Germany should allow donating organs to strangers

HANDELSBLATT GLOBAL: Some people die in Germany because it prohibits organ donations to strangers. Berlin should emulate other nations and change the law to save lives.

READ MORE

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost.

Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines.

In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market.

Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries.

Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian.

Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Dental therapists and dental reform

ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES: To drill or not to drill?

For the past few months, it’s a question Arizona state lawmakers have been asking themselves and various experts in the dental field.

READ MORE

mm

About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.