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October 19, 2012 7:32 am

Israel can Bring Cheaper Medical Supplies to Europe

avatar by Tal Ofer

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Teva factory in Har Hotzvim Jerusalem

A crucial vote will take place next week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. MEPs will vote whether to approve the ACAA (Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products) between the EU and Israel. The agreement will enable European citizens to get new life-saving drugs at a lower cost. A company like Teva is a leader in the generic market, and providing its products access to the EU market will save European governments hundreds of millions of Euros, and will benefit European healthcare and well-being.

Negotiations on ACAA were been concluded in 2009 but the agreement has already been delayed for more than 2 years, against the interests of European citizens and contrary to the opinion of the European Council and the European Commission. It is disappointing for me as a Labour Party member to see that the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) and the Socialists and Democrats group (S&D) will vote against it next week, due to lobbying by the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign).

The EPLP makes a political linkage to the claims of Arabs against Israel. This linkage is wrong and shows that sadly some politicians are more interested in political posturing than in the well-being and interests of their citizens. The ACAA should only be judged by whether the Israeli pharmaceutical industry is modern and innovative (which it is of course) and if it can benefit the European citizens by bringing access to cheap pharmaceutical products.

In times of double-dip recession in the UK and economic crisis in the continent, it is disappointing to see politicians (some of them even publicly endorsed boycott on Israel) playing a part in the BDS campaign against Israel, which has links to Hamas-Connected organisations. The BDS has more of an anti-Israel agenda than a real will to help Palestinians, and it definitely ignores the need for Europeans to have better access to new drugs and whether European governments will save hundreds of millions of Euros.

The Agreement has been delayed for too long and I hope that despite the position of the EPLP & SD, it will be approved next week at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.  European citizens, myself among them, expect our representatives at the European Parliament to show responsibility, understand the long-term consequences and the benefits of the ACAA, and put aside the dangerous linkage which can put the wellness and well-being of European patients and citizens at risk.

Tal Ofer is a UK member of the European Jewish Parliament.

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  • Bryan

    I wish these countries would make donations or bring medical supplies to other parts of Africa, India and the Philippines.

  • Andrzej

    I am not agree with that politics. Protecting EU market is the normal policy. Is why the created the EU.
    There is nothing anti-Semitic in such decision. The true is that are other pharmaceutics companies inside the EU, where they offer similar medicals. So EU is about to protect members economy. As far I know Israel is not a member of EU!!. That text is clearly misleading and brainwashing mixture.
    Please Mr Frankl, and others. Protecting , Hungarian, UK , Polish or Lithuanian market is not anti-Semitic is a way how for ages countries did. As a Hungarian resident, you should support their market and be a part of lobby that Hungary should produce such drugs not Israel !! Anti- Israeli is not anti-Semitic!!! is a tow different stories. When I am reading such comments like above you are not better than any other nationalist in the world.

  • EHR and Ophthalmology Reliable and inexpensive medical supplies are very important for people who purchase those supplies regularly.

  • G. Fränkl

    I *WANT* to express my vviews here as clearly as possible. Today’s “Labour” in Britain – as elsewhere in Western-Europe, not in my native Hungary though a fact of which I am totally, exceedingly PROUD! – is a quasi-FASCIST hate-group. Douglas Alexander is a far-left antisemite and he has proven this before. I follow events very closely. Alexander, Miliband and their similarly hateful agressively antisemitic minions must be denied the oxygen I say!!! And one more itsy-bitsy tiny “detail” I can and will make clear to you. We in Hungary here has an ipso facto by now infamous super-strong outright neo-Nazi in the Parliament in Budapest. They are also represented in the EP. They are total antisemites and rabid, fanatical pro-Iranian Israel-haters, and of course will vote against the agreement and *with* the leftist groups. Good luck for all of the Left wrigling out of this as much as they can. As here our current decidedly anti-democratic minded authoritarian PM viktor Orbán used to say describing another political situation: those which are common in essence join together. Priceless in this situation! Thank you.

  • Charlotte Thorell


    Sharon Klaff, Maybe what you say goes for some countries, but – per se – there is no contradiction being labour and loyal to Israel.
    Tal Ofer, Keep it up and keep on striving in what you believe in!


    • Tal Ofer

      Exactly , there is no contradiction being Labour and supportive of Israel. As much as people from the right side of the political map like to portray themselves as the strongest supporters of Israel, I know enough brilliant Pro-Israel supporters in the Labour Party and in other organisations.

      Many thanks Charlotte, I will!

  • Sharon Klaff

    Tal, does the red/Green alliance not cause you to rethink what it means to be a Labour supporter? It’s time for a political re-alliance as Labour today is fast becoming anti-democracy. You see this in this very discussion as the only reason to not conclude this agreement is because Labour is steeped in anti Israel propaganda.

    • Tal Ofer

      First of all I’m a member of Labour Party because I believe in social justice and in the other principles of the Labour movement. I’m not going to switch to another party just because there are some Labour MPs or MEPs who do not support Israel.
      I can update you that as a result of my Op-Ed, the office of Douglas Alexander (Shadow Foreign Secretary) is now required to give explanations to the Director of Labour Friends of Israel as to why Labour MEPs are planning to vote against ACAA.

      Let’s concentrate on those who support Israel on both sides of the political map and let’s work together for our common goals. There are enough dividing lines between the big parties, let’s not make the support of Israel one of them.