Although Spain and Belgium preferred to focus during their Presidencies on the two less controversial elements of the pharmaceutical package (the update of pharmacovigilance rules and the fight against counterfeit drugs), Hungary will not be able to dodge the third and final element of the package proposed in 2008, namely the draft directive and regulation on information to patients. It will basically be starting from scratch since the European Parliament did not deliver its first reading position until 24 November. To take forward the negotiations, Budapest will have to strike the right balance between information and advertising if it hopes to rally the support of the most reluctant member states.

In parallel with this touchy issue, the Presidency will inherit others that are relatively advanced: the draft directives on cross-border health care (second reading) and on counterfeit medicines...

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