Pharmaceuticals want seat on outbreak management team
The pharmaceutical sector wants a place at the table of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) - the team of experts that advises the Dutch government on how to deal with epidemics like the coronavirus. According to pharmaceuticals, they can help the Netherlands combat future pandemics better. But the existing members of the OMT are not so sure, AD reports.
Pharmaceutical companies have shown during the coronavirus pandemic that they are worthy of society's trust, Marc Kaptein, medical director of Pfizer Nederland and chairman of the Dutch association for pharmaceutical medicine NVFG, said to the newspaper. According to him, that should mean that the sector is welcome in the OMT.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Dutch cabinet took advice from "a whole spaghetti mess" of organizations, but never involved the NVFG, Kaptein said. "That led to a delay in the vaccination campaign at least," Kaptein said. "I think our sector deserves a stronger voice. We have so much knowledge in-house. Of course we have financial interests, but we have to be able to adjust that."
He stressed that substantive experts from the sector would join the OMT, not people with commercial functions. "I think the OMT is composed of [public health institute] RIVM, experts and the chairman of professional associations that play a role in combating infectious diseases, such as the general practitioners, the pediatricians and the microbiologists. We as NVFG could also belong there."
The existing members of the OMT are not so eager to welcome the pharmaceutical sector among their ranks. Jaap van Dissel, chairman of both the OMT and the RIVM, told AD that a place on the OMT is "not a prize you can win". "Besides, I think you ave to be careful to change everything because of this pandemic."
OMT member and virologist Marion Koopmans told the newspaper that "personally" she did not miss the pharmaceutical sector while dealing with this pandemic. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health pointed out that the vaccination campaign, in which the pharmaceuticals play an important role, is not the responsibility of the OMT.