http://www.hopscotchweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/15102008_logo_liberation.jpg" Is the European Commission more concerned with promoting the interests of a US pharmaceutical firm than in ensuring the survival of several dozen patients suffering from a serious and rare liver disease?" asks French daily, Libération. The paper explains that –

for the past three years, it has fought tooth and nail against authorising European sales of Orphacol. Produced by small French laboratory CTRS, the drug would save those suffering from the fatal disease. This relentless bureaucratic assault cannot be explained by reasons of public health since the advice of the experts – and of the 27 member states – is unanimously in favour of a medicine that has proved its worth.

However, this refusal by the Commission to authorise Orphacol works in favour of a US firm, Asklepion Pharmaceuticals, a laboratory controlled by the Church of the Seventh Day Adventist, which has also requested an authorisation to market a competing drug – non-existent as yet – from the London-based European Medicines Agency.

This stubborn refusal is "incomprehensible" admits a Commission official. Because, Libération continues, "the Commission usually sticks to the advice of the scientific experts from the various European agencies."

The paper singles out the role of Patricia Brunko, head of a unit responsible for drugs designed for human use within the EU's Directorate General for Health and Consumers, who "appears determined to sink Orphacol”. However, adds the paper, if one makes the link with the Dalli affair,

everyone has noted that Brunko's boss was former Commissioner John Dalli, who was sacked by Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso in October following suspected corruption from the tobacco lobby. Yet, no case has been filed with OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office," French officials note. ( Fonte: www.presseurop.eu/ Libération)