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Low-battery warning fight

Microsoft’s carbon dating, Google in $1tn club, Logitech’s split keyboard

Don’t tell anyone, but my iPhone charger is hidden under some newspapers on my desk so that it’s less likely to go walkies when I’m not there.

I’ve always taken precautions, with people very eager to “borrow” this vital energy supply, and in future, I may have to bolt my chargers to the desk. The European Union just doubled the chances of me losing them this week when it revived the idea of universal chargers that would fit Apple, Samsung and any other smartphones.

Apart from the extra jeopardy I will face personally, the tech industry’s own selfish interests are in focus here. “The EU-enforced common charger is the enemy of progress” was the headline of a release from the corporate-backed Consumer Choice Center, which said any such move would undermine innovation and restrict competition. It echoed the argument when this last came up from Apple, which is the king of proprietary technologies and whose Lightning connectors are still cursed by anyone wanting to plug in a headphone jack.

I don’t buy their concerns. Where would we be without common USB and HDMI standards, and WiFi and Bluetooth, all with dongle-less backwards compatibility? I would happily trade a little innovation and commercial advantage for those invaluable conformities. 

Of course, legislators are always behind the tech curve and the common charger debate would become moot if we all bought wireless charging mats that removed the need for hard connections completely. Then again, some companies are not being as innovative in taking us to that bright new future as they think they are. Apple announced its AirPower wireless charging mats in 2017, but had to cancel the product less than two years later after struggling to make one that worked properly.

The Internet of (Five) Things

1. Microsoft’s carbon dating The software shop has gone further than other tech giants in committing to become “carbon negative” by 2030 and offset all carbon emissions made since it was founded. The $1.2tn company also announced a $1bn innovation fund to tackle the climate crisis.

2. There’s another trillion-dollar tech titan Alphabet on Thursday became the fourth Big Tech company to reach a market capitalisation of $1tn. Apple was the first public company to achieve the milestone, in August 2018, and is now more than a third of the way to a second trillion. It was followed by Amazon, which has since fallen back below the 13-digit threshold, and then Microsoft. Meanwhile, Tesla’s soaring share price is giving short sellers the heebie jeebies.

3. Peacock proud of its free streaming strategy The last major streaming debut is also the cheapest. Comcast unveiled its NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service on Thursday and said it would be free for its existing cable customers when it launches fully in July. There will be live sports and news, a large catalogue of older sitcoms, and the service will primarily rely on advertising rather than the subscriptions favoured by rivals. “We like the idea of zigging when others zag,” said NBCUniversal chairman Steve Burke.

4. WhatsApp won’t rely on ads Facebook is dropping plans to show ads on its WhatsApp messaging service, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. WhatsApp disbanded the team working on integrating ads on to the platform recently and even the code they had created was deleted from the app.

5. Ad industry faces wrath of regulator The UK’s data protection regulator is braced to do battle with the country’s £13bn online advertising industry, saying it will start investigating individual companies that are in breach of European data protection law and enforcing it against them. The Information Commissioner’s Office said the ad industry had responded insufficiently to a six-month grace period to get its house in order.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Democratic Debates: Healthcare in the US is twice as expensive as in Europe – But is this really due to high drug prices?

Watching the #DemDebate in Iowa was an interesting lesson on how something becomes true if enough politicians repeat the same twisted fact over and over again. 

Once all candidates had agreed that Iran having a nuclear bomb would be a problem, the debate shifted towards healthcare reform and the fact that the U.S. is the world leader in healthcare spending as a share of GDP (whooping 17.7% of GDP compared to a typical 8-12% when looking at countries such as the UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, or Germany).

Hedge-Fund-Manager-turned politician Tom Steyer opened by saying that the US spends twice as much per person on healthcare than any other developed nation and that’s why we need a stronger role of the government in healthcare. Steyer forgets to mention that the United States is already the global leader in government healthcare spending:

According to the World Health Organization at least 49% of all healthcare expenditure in the United States is paid by the government (state and federal). That gets you close to 9% of the US GDP and is more than public and private health spending in the United Kingdom combined. 

This should make all of us skeptical and get us to question whether a bigger role of government in healthcare spending would actually bring costs down.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders talked about “greed and corruption of pharmaceutical companies“ and lambasted them as the main reason for high health expenditures in the United States. And while it is true that the US is the largest market for drug sales, they account (including retail and inpatient use) for merely 14% of total health expenditures.

Simple math shows us that even if Bernie Sanders becomes POTUS and brings all drug prices down to $0.00, the US’ healthcare spending would still equal 15% of its GDP, and still it a world leader in healthcare spending. All of this while effectively killing any new medical innovations in the country.

These 2-2.5 percentage points in savings could (according to PWC) also be realized by cutting through red tape and the billing madness of the US health system(s). An unknown but significant amount of efficiency gains could be realized by opening up insurance markets nationwide and giving patients in every state more choice when it comes to their insurer.

High salaries for medical professionals (doctors and nurses) are definitely the elephant in the room that political campaigners don’t touch. Even purchase power adjusted medical professionals make easily twice as much as in other (very) developed countries. By opening up the US medical labor market to more immigration, mutual recognition of medical degrees and training, the US could counter ever-rising salaries for professionals. More competition among medical and nursing schools could also tackle student debt of medical professionals.

While merely 0.3 percentage points could be directly saved by reforming medical malpractice laws, a much bigger amount could be saved by doctors reducing their fear of lawsuits. So-called defensive medicine is the behavior of doctors that are worried about getting sued by patients. Some studies estimate that over-prescribing and over-treatments can make up a quarter of total health costs in the United States. While I think that that number is too high, even if it’s just 5% of total health expenditure, we would be able to shave off another percentage point getting us closer to the Switzerlands of the world.

In short: The Democratic candidates don’t have to worry: The US is already the global leader in government health spending per citizen. If they really want to bring total spending down, they should advocate for legal (liability) reform, opening up the medical and nursing job markets to more immigration, and more choice and competition in the insurance market. Nationalizing all pharmaceutical companies and handing out drugs for free won’t do the trick.

2020: A Radio Show, Bringing Consumer Choice to Davos, and Fighting for Science

Dear Friend of Consumer Choice!

The CCC is now entering into its fourth year and we’re excited to see more and more interest in our work. 

Here’s a breakdown of everything our team has been up to since our last message:


Consumer Choice Radio!

Our North American team has launched a whole radio show dedicated to #consumerchoice. Consumer Choice Radio is broadcast on Saturdays at 10AM EST on The Big Talker 106.7 FM out of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Yaël and David will talk for an hour every week about pressing consumer issues that are happening around the world, and have interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators, and people leading the charge for more consumer choice.

Either tune in every Saturday or subscribe to our podcast or YouTube channel.


This gets me to the next big item of this newsletter: Our third episode of the radio show will be brought to you from Davos, Switzerland. Six of us will observe what global elites are planning in the areas of consumer-facing issues.

2nd Cannabis Conclave Davos 2020

We will also host the second-ever Cannabis Conclave in Davos and expect another packed house!

The Conclave is a networking event that seeks to connect industry leaders, investors, and policymakers. The purpose of the event is to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.


Davos: 21democracy

As part of our 21Democracy project, we will host a dinner with leading policymakers, liberal business leaders, consumers, law enforcement, and civil rights activists who will be will be sharing ideas on how we can deploy our resources to combat Chinese Communist Party power and influence in liberal democracies and on consumer choice globally.


During our week in Davos we will also attend other events on brand freedom (especially important given recent moves by Israel and Denmark to boost the black market by banning branding of vaping products), trade, meet policymakers, and make consumer voices heard in the debate. 

Let us know if you or any of your friends will be in Davos. We would love to connect at 2,000 meters high!


Pharma Transparency Campaign

Our latest campaign is on drug transparency: We believe patients should have the right to know which drugs are available now and which ones will become available soon in their country. Therefore we started a media and social media campaign promoting this idea. You can read my piece in CapX here.


You might also like my thoughts on how we can bring down the cost structure of new life-saving drugs.

This week my colleague Bill will be at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany and see what’s in for consumers. The GFFA brings together leading voices in global agriculture. The CCC defends innovative agro-tech methods such as gene-editing, as means to improve the lives of consumers across the globe. You’ll be able to catch updates from Bill on our Instagram and Facebook stories. Bill also made it into Germany’s top daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, writing about lessons from the French Nutri Score labels. 

Maria’s and my open letter to the EU Commission to give GMOs and gene editing a chance got picked up by The Scottish Farmer


Event on GMO, Gene Editing and Climate Change

On February 3rd we will be co-hosting an event on the future of food in London, UK with our friends from the Genetic Literacy Project, Adam Smith Institute, and the British Conservation Alliance.


Legal Reform

Our push for legal reform in the United States keeps gaining ground.

Last month Yaël got published in the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Daily News on the various ways lawmakers should reform the U.S. legal system.


As you can see, we are starting 2020 at full steam ahead, pushing for choice in the fields of Digital, Transportation, Consumer Goods, and Health & Science. 

Stay tuned for our February updates and please keep supporting our work!


Fred Roeder

Ce Secteur a Réussi Là Où L’Etat a Toujours Échoué

Une bonne information et une réglementation équilibrée sont plus efficaces que l’interdiction pure et simple : du bon sens, et pourtant…

Les collégiens, les lycéens et les étudiants ont augmenté leur consommation de cigarettes électroniques, malgré les préoccupations croissantes.

Bien que la consommation de nicotine chez les mineurs et les décès dus à des maladies pulmonaires liées au tabagisme constituent un réel problème, les produits de vapotage légaux et une information précise auprès des consommateurs peuvent combattre ces effets au lieu de les aggraver.

Nous devrions nous réjouir de la présence d’alternatives au tabac et soutenir des produits sûrs et légaux.

Au début, il n’y avait que les étranges sosies de cigarettes qui s’allument lorsque vous preniez une bouffée. De nos jours, le marché de la cigarette électronique s’est élargi pour inclure beaucoup de variétés différentes, afin de donner un choix plus sûr au consommateur.

Cette dernière phrase étonnera sans doute de nombreux lecteurs – à juste titre. Si vous avez suivi l’actualité du vaping et les craintes qui entourent désormais ces produits, vous pourriez penser que la simple idée d’encourager les e-cigarettes devrait être une infraction criminelle.

L’exemple du Royaume-Uni

Aucun produit potentiellement nocif ne doit être encouragé. Cependant, dans le cas de l’e-cigarette, il faut reconnaître ses effets de réduction des méfaits. Public Health England (l’agence du département de la Santé au Royaume-Uni) a évalué en 2015 (et confirmé depuis) que le vaping est au moins 95% moins nocif que la cigarette conventionnelle.

Le Royaume-Uni, en particulier, montre qu’une politique permissive en la matière est meilleure pour aider ceux qui veulent arrêter de fumer. Entre 2011 et 2017, le nombre de fumeurs au Royaume-Uni est passé de 19,8% à 14,9%.

Dans le même temps, le nombre d’utilisateurs de cigarettes électroniques a augmenté : près de la moitié de ces consommateurs utilisent les cigarettes électroniques comme moyen d’arrêter de fumer.

Pendant ce temps, l’Agence américaine des produits alimentaires et médicamenteux (FDA), ainsi que la plupart des pays européens, publient des avertissements de santé publique concernant la vape. Une récente flambée de maladies pulmonaires « liées aux cigarettes électroniques » a augmenté le rejet de cette innovation.

Les symptômes des personnes affectées comprennent des difficultés respiratoires, des douleurs thoraciques, de la fatigue et des vomissements. Environ la moitié des patients sont des adolescents ou de jeunes adultes.

C’est ici qu’il est important de brosser un tableau complet de la situation.

Qu’y a-t-il dans une e-cigarette ?

Les deux principaux ingrédients utilisés dans les liquides de vape, le propylène glycol (PG) et la glycérine végétale (VG), sont utilisés pour former leur vapeur et ajouter du goût.

A ces deux ingrédients s’ajoute un troisième, habituellement un arôme alimentaire commun que l’on trouve dans les gâteaux, les huiles et d’autres produits alimentaires qui aident à donner au liquide son goût.

Tous ces composés sont des ingrédients alimentaires courants que les organismes de réglementation, dont la FDA, jugent sains et sûrs.

D’autres ingrédients variables incluent l’alcaloïde stimulant, la nicotine. Bien que tous les liquides de la cigarette électronique ne contiennent pas de la nicotine, le produit chimique qui crée une dépendance est le principal attrait pour les fumeurs qui veulent arrêter de fumer.

Comparée à d’autres alternatives, comme les timbres et les médicaments de la thérapie de remplacement de la nicotine, la vape s’est avérée plus efficace.

Le Center for Disease Control (CDC) a publié un rapport le 6 décembre qui a révélé qu’aucun d’entre eux ne contenait de nicotine. La plupart des consommateurs touchés avaient consommé des produits THC sur le marché noir – beaucoup dans des Etats qui n’ont pas légalisé le cannabis.

Dans la plupart de ces terribles cas de maladies pulmonaires liées à la fumée, de la vitamine E a été trouvée dans les liquides. La vitamine E est très nocive lorsqu’elle est inhalée.

En Europe, de plus en plus de pays abordent la question dans la bonne direction. La Direction générale de la santé du Portugal a publié une déclaration disant que les utilisateurs devraient s’abstenir de modifier leurs e-cigarettes liquides ou d’ajouter toute substance qui n’est pas légalement commercialisée et étiquetée.

Il s’agit certainement d’une approche davantage axée sur l’information des consommateurs que l’Etat du Michigan, qui a décidé d’interdire catégoriquement le vaping aromatisé (du moins à titre de mesure temporaire).

Le meilleur chemin pour arriver à la sécurité

Si nous voulons lutter contre les décès dus au marché noir, nous devons adopter des produits légaux sûrs. Un marché légal et réglementé est le meilleur moyen d’éradiquer les mauvais produits et acteurs.

L’interdiction des liquides aromatisés conduira au marché noir ou aux cigarettes ceux qui désirent des goûts différents. Des études récentes ont montré que si les produits de vapotage sont interdits, les utilisateurs de la cigarette électronique actuelles sont plus susceptibles de recommencer à fumer. Ce serait un pas en arrière considérable pour la santé publique.

Il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour briser les mythes sur la question des e-cigarettes. Au-delà de cette question, cependant, voyons ce que les produits ont réellement fait : depuis des décennies, l’Etat tente de convaincre les gens d’arrêter de fumer. Pour ce faire, il a eu recours à des politiques paternalistes, comme la fiscalité, les restrictions en matière d’emballage (le paquet neutre) et de vente, qui se sont toutes révélées inefficaces.

Toute baisse des ventes de cigarettes a été compensée par une hausse des ventes sur le marché noir. Dans cette économie souterraine, les consommateurs sont induits en erreur et ils en souffrent.

Nous devons encourager la commercialisation et l’image de marque de produits sûrs et légaux. L’information des consommateurs est nécessaire pour évincer les produits dangereux du marché noir.

La vape a réalisé ce que des décennies de politiques gouvernementales n’ont pas réussi à offrir aux consommateurs : une alternative viable. Ce type d’innovation doit être célébré, non réprimandé.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Cannabis Conclave Returning To Davos: Meet Benzinga At The Event

The Cannabis Conclave is returning to Davos on Jan. 23, alongside the World Economic Forum.

The Conclave, which is hosted by the Consumer Choice Center and Prohibition Partners, is an industry event that seeks to connect industry leaders, investors and policy makers. The purpose of the event is to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.

The event consists of a networking luncheon at the mountainside Restaurant Höhenweg, where guests will be treated to a full Swiss three course lunch, along with thought provoking presentations.

“We are excited to be back in Davos for our second annual Cannabis Conclave. This year we will have industry leaders from 24 countries in attendance. Our event will ensure that cannabis policy remains front and center as the world’s most influential people descend on Davos for the week,” David Clement, North American Affairs Manager at Consumer Choice Center, told Benzinga.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

A new Pro-Science Citizens’ Initiative Deserves Support

A new student organized EU Citizens’ Initiative demands a streamlined process of authorising scientific innovations in the field of agriculture. They deserve to be heard and supported.

On 25th July, the European Commission registered the Citizens’ Initiative Grow scientific progress: crops matter! Two students are named as representatives, namely Martina Helmlinger and Lavinia Scudiero.

Helmlinger is about to finish her MSc in “Safety in the Food Chain” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. Scudiero is currently pursuing a Master’s in “Food Safety Law and Regulatory Affairs” at Wageningen University and Research.

The two students argue in the description of the initiative that EU Directive 2001/18/EC is outdated, and suggest an automatic mechanism to review it. The goal is to streamline the now lengthy and costly market authorisation process, and allow for more scientific progress in the EU. Individual evaluations, as opposed to broad definitions, should help to allow new technologies to enter the market.

As Marcel Kuntz, Director of Research at the Cell & Plant Physiology laboratory in Grenoble, explains: “Ag-biotech is not an agricultural production mode, it is a means to increase trait biodiversity. What is important is what is done with a product, not how the product was obtained.” Kuntz also complains about attacks on scientists and “political struggles” that define what is regarded as safe and what isn’t.

It often seems that the debate surrounding innovation in agriculture has been hijacked by professional communicators, doing everything to slander technological innovation without evidence.

The truth is that organisations such as Greenpeace have been attacking GMOs for decades. They say that GMOs represent “unacceptable risks”, without pointing to scientific evidence highlighting that risk.

“GM crops have no place in sustainable farming. They come with unacceptable risks created by the genetic engineering process and the traits they are engineered to express.”

The same NGOs that lobbied the EU against genetically-modified crops, have also been celebrating a European Court of Justice case which rules that gene-editing should be treated the same way as GMOs. Greenpeace calls gene-editing “GMOs through the back door”.

Dr Bernhard Url, Head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), says that just because you don’t like the results, “don’t shoot science.” He adds that “if science becomes just one more opinion, which can be overlooked in favour of superstition, this carries an enormous risk for society.”

He is right. Gene-editing already offers multiple advantages to plant-breeding. For example, by creating allergen-free foods we could create immense change for people affected by potentially life-threatening allergies. However, these applications go beyond the realm of agriculture. Gene-editing can help fight the Zika virusprevent transmission of Malariacure leukaemia, and shows promising research in the areas of Alzheimers, Huntington’s disease, cervical and lung cancer.

Gene-editing is at risk of falling victim to the same unscientific fear-mongering as GMOs have been in the past. As a result other continents are innovating while Europe rides itself into a technological ditch, fantasising about the likes of “agroecology”, going so far as to ditch mechanisation.

The Grow scientific progress initiative deserves support. The European Union needs to open itself to innovation in order to keep up with the exciting opportunities of tomorrow.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

In your face: Planes are getting more efficient but passenger taxes drive airlines out of business

Range increases of new jetliners

The UK government has apparently just saved the regional carrier Flybe from bankruptcy by delaying over a hundred million pounds of passenger departure tax payments to the UK government and suggesting to lower this tax altogether in the future. Saving a local airline causes these days an outcry not because of government interventionism but the general anti-flying segment also known as flight shaming. Unfortunately the UK government did not move away from their plan to increase the APD for long haul flights by April 1st. 

Let’s look at what’s currently happening in the industry when it comes to long haul flights: Following aviation news regularly one can observe a real arms race in the last couple of years on which airline currently holds the record on the world’s longest flight. 

Just a few years ago Qatar Airways was the record holder with their Doha-Auckland flight on the newly delivered Airbus A350. 

Now Singapore to New York ranks as the world’s longest flight (and yes, there are different geeky ways to determine what “long” means but no need to dig into this here). 

Now one can just label these new ultra long haul routes as PR stunts of airlines or the manifestation of big egos of airline executives. But the actual marvel behind this is that flights are getting more and more efficient. This allows airlines to schedule longer flights and spare passengers hours of layovers at random airports on the way home. 

And while thousands of private jets will descend into Switzerland for some collective flight shaming at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it is important to point out that flying is getting more efficient. Consumers have more and more choices and additional direct flights allow them to travel faster.  

Those demanding less flying and higher taxation on flights are neglecting the fact of ongoing efficiency gains in the aviation industry and at the same time de-democratize flying by making it less affordable for the average consumer. 

Conventional jetliners becoming more fuel efficient is an ongoing development and does not need any policy input as it is in the intrinsic interest of airlines to offer more competitive routes and ticket prices. 

The next step would be to allow a regulatory framework for supersonic passenger flights. We wrote a paper on this last year. 

It’s time for the UK to bring drug approval into the 21st century

Settling Brexit has been a byzantine process, but it’s got nothing on the UK’s opaque and outright baffling system of pharmaceutical drug availability and research.

Every year the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK’s national drug regulator, approves dozens of new medicines, including both the newest patented medicines and lower-cost generic drugs.

After Brexit the MHRA will have a much bigger role as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will likely no longer be responsible for the approval of innovative drugs in the UK. But the UK has an outdated and murky approach to patenting and regulatory approval that leaves patients in the dark.

Bracing for Brexit means also that we need to bring our drug approval system to the 21st century and include openness and transparency.

Instead of regularly notifying which drugs are approved and their patent status, the UK hides much of this information. This makes it harder for patients and healthcare professionals to know which drugs are currently available and will soon be at the pharmacy. This stands in stark contrast to the international trend of promoting more transparency in pharmaceutical markets.

And while the EMA has such a notification mechanism set up for certain innovative and orphan medicines, the UK does not. An open and transparent government should provide patients, doctors and pharmacists with the information on which drugs manufacturers are currently filing for market authorisation.

At the moment, you can find six pages in MHRA’s annual report on its energy use, but precious little on the current approval and application pipeline. Shouldn’t patients have access to this information?

We should follow international best practices and publicly release more information about drugs being considered for approval. This should include information about the patent status of these drugs and the timeline for approval.

Canada provides a good example of how to go about this. Its Patented Medicines Regulations allow the timely release of this information and keep patients better informed about their health care options. It also helps to hold the government accountable, leading to a more transparent and functional drug approval process.

Other advanced countries, including Singapore, have open systems in which governments transparently and efficiently review the patent status of new medicines prior to marketing approval. This transparency makes markets work better and brings down costs and prices.

The UK is not alone in needing more patient-friendly transparency and open government: France and Italy both lack having an easy-to-access database that lists all approved drugs and drugs in review.

Increased transparency of patent information and regulatory approval helps patients in a number of ways. It can help bolster intellectual property protections essential to getting the newest, most effective medicines to market. It can also help speed up the process of approving lower-cost generic medicines that could immediately save lives.

Patients should demand the implementation of an online database that not only lists currently approved patent-protected drugs and generics but also shows in real-time which marketing authorisations are being sought by patented and off-patent drugs. Ideally, drug manufacturers would apply for marketing authorisation in the UK through that open platform as well. This would allow a one-stop-shop for patients, health care professionals, and the pharmaceutical industry.

In the age of Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Ocado, it’s about time that our public administration helps bring more transparency and live data to patients and doctors. Any delay means keeping patients in the dark – and we all deserve better.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Le génie génétique est une occasion scientifique à saisir

Dans le cas du riz doré, des chercheurs ont fait en sorte que le riz produise une source de vitamine A, et que le riz devienne une couleur dorée au lieu d'être blanc, d'où son nom. Le manque de vitamine A dans certains pays continue à tuer 4.500 enfants par jour.

Qui assumera la responsabilité si l’Europe prend du retard dans l’innovation scientifique?

L’huile de soja sans acide gras transfatla tomate résistante aux virusle riz résistant aux maladiesle traitement de la paralysie par les cellules souches, ou la réparation de la cornée sont autant d’innovations scientifiques ou de percées possibles avec le génie génétique.

Le Canada a créé des règles permissives pour ces technologies, tandis que le Japon travaille jour et nuit à trouver les traitements thérapeutiques qui éradiquent le cancer ou le virus Zika. En Europe, les perspectives sont sombres, car les fonctionnaires et les politiciens étouffent la vitesse à laquelle les scientifiques peuvent avancer au profit des consommateurs et des patients. Il est vrai que des élites puissantes pourront se rendre à Tokyo ou à la Mayo Clinic du Minnesota pour se faire soigner, mais pour les Britanniques qui n’ont pas les moyens de se payer ces traitements, il est élémentaire que la loi britannique autorise la recherche, le développement et le traitement.

Législation ancienne et dépassée

Dans l’Union européenne, le génie génétique est interdit dans la pratique, en raison d’une législation européenne ancienne et dépassée. Le moindre mot en faveur de technologies innovantes telles que CRISPR (une technologie d’édition de génome) vous fait attaquer par des politiciens et des ONG financées par l’UE. Les arrêts de la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne rendent le génie génétique pratiquement illégal. Sur le continent, l’argument est actuellement assez unilatéral.

Tout de même, il y a de la lumière au bout du tunnel. En Allemagne, les Jeunes Verts semblent se réveiller. Plusieurs militants sont cités lors d’un congrès en Basse-Saxe, disant ceci sur le génie génétique : “La réglementation stricte rend le transfert plus coûteux, ce que seules les entreprises peuvent se permettre. La même erreur est commise comme avec les anciennes techniques de modification génétique”.

Cela dit, miser sur une scission au sein du mouvement écologiste n’est pas une mince affaire. De nombreux rassemblements internationaux n’ont pas approuvé l’agro-technologie moderne comme moyen d’innover. Lors du Forum mondial sur l’alimentation et l’agriculture (GFFA) qui se tiendra à Berlin le mois prochain, environ 70 ministres de l’Agriculture du monde entier ont l’intention d’adopter un communiqué sur l’orientation mondiale de l’agriculture. On espère qu’ils reconnaîtront la valeur des technologies telles que le génie génétique.

Indépendamment des communiqués internationaux, l’Union européenne a l’obligation morale envers ses citoyens de permettre aux scientifiques de mettre au point des remèdes et des aliments du XXIe siècle.

L’exemple du riz doré

Prenant l’exemple du “golden rice”, du riz doré. Dans des pays en voie de développement, le riz est souvent la principale source d’alimentation. Ceci pose problème, car autant être riche en énergie, il ne contient ni minéraux ni vitamines. Ce manque de vitamine A continue à tuer 4.500 enfants par jour.

Dans le cas du riz doré, des chercheurs ont fait en sorte que le riz produise une source de vitamine A, et que le riz devienne une couleur dorée au lieu d’être blanc, d’où son nom. La source est le bêta-carotène, que le corps humain transforme en vitamine A. Le bêta-carotène est ce qui rend les carottes orange.

Le 18 décembre, les Philippines ont jugé cette toute première variété de riz génétiquement modifié comme sûr pour la consommation humaine. Une bonne nouvelle, même si elle est tardive: le riz doré (Oryza sativa) existe depuis la dernière décennie, et le projet est originalement des années 1980. Il s’avère que depuis longtemps, des écologistes opposent son approbation, car il s’agit d’un organisme génétiquement modifié. Cette technologie, sûre et vitale pour des millions, même des milliards de personnes, reste inaccessible à cause d’un activisme obscurantiste de plusieurs ONG, dont Greenpeace. Ils ne proposent aucune preuve scientifique pour légitimer leurs oppositions, et sont indirectement responsables pour la mort de milliers d’enfants, disent plus de 150 lauréats de prix Nobel dans une lettre ouverte.

Le riz doré n’est qu’un exemple. D’autres innovations technologiques deviendront victime de cette politique de prétendue “précaution”.

Politisation des traités commerciaux

La nouvelle politique sous la Commission de Madame Von der Leyen n’indique malheureusement pas une rupture avec le dogme anti-science dans l’UE. Bien au contraire, Berlaymont veut accroître la politisation des traités commerciaux, en demandant des standards équivalents de produits en provenance des pays hors-UE, tandis que ces pays ont souvent des meilleures expériences agroalimentaires que notre continent.

Qui assumera la responsabilité quand l’Europe aura du retard dans la question de l’innovation scientifique? Allons-nous nous faire guider par l’écologisme moderne qui essaie de nous faire peur de tout, ou est-ce que nous emploierons l’esprit scientifique et celui de la découverte au bénéfice de l’humanité?

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

E-Zigarette: Dem süßen Dampf eine Chance geben

E-Zigaretten und „Heat-not-burn“-Produkte erlauben weniger schädliche Wege Nikotin zu konsumieren, geraten allerdings zunehmend unter politischen Druck. Von unserem Gastautor Bill Wirtz.

Sie sehen aus wie USB-Sticks oder Feuerzeugasbehälter, riechen oft süß und stoßen manchmal große weiße Wolken aus. Viele Ex-Raucher machten den Sprung weg vom Glimmstängel zu E-Zigaretten. Dieses dampfende Produkt profitiert von motivierten Befürwortern und leidet unter uninformierten Politikern. Die Frage im Vordergrund bleibt, ob diese Alternative besser für Raucher ist.

Die Aussage, dass E-Zigaretten 95% weniger gesundheitsschädlich als konventionelle Zigaretten sind, stammt nicht aus einer Werbung von den Produzenten selbst, sondern von Public Health England (PHE). PHE ist Teil des britischen Gesundheitsministeriums und beschäftigt sich täglich mit den Gesundheitsfolgen von Konsumgütern.

Neuere Ergebnisse, die in den Annals of Internal Medicine veröffentlicht wurden, zeigen, dass langfristige E-Zigaretten-Nutzer, umgangssprachlich auch gerne Dampfer genannt, einen zwanzigmal niedrigeren Wert an krebserregenden Bestandteilen aufweisen. Dampfer zeigen auch viel niedrigere Werte für weitere tabakspezifische Giftstoffe, die zwei bis fünfmal unter denen der konventioneller Raucher liegen. Wer als Raucher Angst vor den möglichen Risiken einer Zigarette hat, kann E-Zigaretten-Flüssigkeiten (“e-liquids”) kaufen die lediglich Nikotin enthalten.

Doch wissenschaftliche Fakten schaffen es nicht immer in die öffentliche und politische Debatte. Für viele Gesundheitsaktivisten ist klar, dass auch bei diesen risikomindernden Produkten ein starkes Zeichen gesetzt werden muss. Resultat: Obwohl E-Zigaretten gänzlich andere Produkte sind, werden sie zunehmend wie Tabak reguliert. Der Kabinettschef des EU-Gesundheitskommissars Vytenis Andriukaitis, meint die Regulierung für E-Zigaretten in der Europäischen Union sollte gleich sein, wie die gewöhnlichen Tabaks. Er sagt dazu:

„Wir werden mit Fragen über gesündere Möglichkeiten etwas in die Lunge zu inhalieren bombardiert. Eine fremde Substanz in die Lunge zu bekommen, ist einfach nicht gesund.“

Oft wird bei Menge und Einnahmemedium kein Unterschied gemacht. So fallen ironischerweise auch die tabakfreien elektronischen Zigaretten unter die EU Tabakdirektive.

Bei der UN Welttabakkonferenz, die letztes Jahr in Genf stattfand, wurden E-Zigaretten explizit nicht als Alternative gepriesen. Ganz im Gegenteil, Anne Bucher, EU-Generaldirektorin für Gesundheit, sagte dort ebenfalls, dass es keinen Unterschied zwischen E-Zigaretten und konventionellen Zigaretten gibt.

Aus dem Nanny State Index on Nicotine des Institute of Economic Affairs geht hervor, dass Schweden, Großbritannien, Tschechien, Deutschland und die Niederlande die liberalste Politik gegenüber E-Zigaretten betreiben. Die Schweiz hingegen schneidet sehr schlecht ab, vor allem durch das Verbot gegen nikotinhaltige E-Zigaretten. Der Verkauf ist nicht erlaubt – importiert werden dürfen nur 150 ml alle 60 Tage. Norwegen wird diese Produkte demnächst erlauben (die Gesetzgebung ist hier bereits in Arbeit) und damit wird die Schweiz das einzige europäische Land sein, das ein komplettes Verbot pflegt.

Natürlich kann man sagen, dass man am Besten einfach ganz mit dem Rauchen aufhört. Doch komplette Abstinenz ist für viele Raucher einfach nicht möglich. Entweder weil sie es nicht wollen, oder weil die Aufgabe von Nikotin zu schwierig ist. Sogar in extremen Situationen, wie die erzwungene Einstellung des Rauchens im Gefängnis, zeigt sich, dass Inhaftierte auch nach mehreren Monaten in Haft, in der Freiheit wieder mit dem Rauchen anfangen. Wenn man „einfach aufhören“ könnte, würde die Empfehlung einen Arzt zur Rauchentwöhnung zu befragen (so wie es heute auf vielen Zigarettenschachteln steht), nicht sonderlich viel Sinn ergeben. Wir wissen inzwischen ebenfalls, dass das “vaping” bei der Rauchentwöhnung besser abschneidet als konventionelle Methoden wie z.B. Nikotin-Pflaster.

Wer nikotinhaltige E-Zigaretten verbietet, muss damit rechnen, dass Raucher wieder auf die normale Zigarette umsteigen. Und das kann ja nicht das Ziel moderner Gesundheitspolitik sein. Verbote von E-Zigaretten führen dazu, dass viele Verbraucher sich wieder dem altbewährten Glimmstängel zuwenden. Gerade Großbritannien zeigt, dass eine liberale Dampfpolitik die klassische Zigarette besser abgewöhnt. Zwischen 2011 und 2017 ist die Raucherzahl in Großbritannien von 19,8% auf 14,9% gesunken. Gleichzeitig stieg die Zahl der E-Zigaretten Nutzer: Fast die Hälfte dieser Verbraucher nutzen E-Zigaretten als Mittel zur Rauchentwöhnung.

Der Markt bietet Rauchern nun eine Alternative, die bezahlbar und angenehm ist und zudem noch weitaus geringere Risiken mit sich bringt. Anstatt alles zu tun, um diese Alternative mit Überregulierung zu überschütten, sollte die Politik Verbrauchern erlauben Zugang zu diesen innovativen Nikotinprodukten zu haben.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

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